Irritant and adjuvant effects of gaseous formaldehyde on the ovalbumin-induced hyperresponsiveness and inflammation in a rat model.
Inhal Toxicol. 2009 Dec;21(14):1200-7. PMID: 19827972
College of Life Science, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, China.
BACKGROUND: Formaldehyde (FA) is a common indoor air pollutant that can cause asthma in people experiencing long-term exposure. While FA and other man-made chemicals contribute to the stimulation of asthma in the general population, the underlying molecular pathogenesis of this relationship is not yet well understood.
OBJECTIVE: To explore FA as an irritant for the onset of asthma and as an adjuvant for the induction of allergy.
METHODS: In the present study, 40 Wistar rats in five experimental groups were exposed to: (i) saline; (ii) ovalbumin (OVA); (iii) OVA + FA at 417 ppb; (iv) OVA + FA at 2500 ppb; and (v) FA at 2500 ppb. Current and prior occupational exposure limits in China were established at 417 ppb and 2500 ppb, respectively. Gaseous FA was administrated to the animals for 6 h/day before and during OVA immunization or saline treatment. Measured outcomes included in situ lung function analysis, cytokine measurement, and histological changes in the rat lungs.
RESULTS: The airway reactivity, lung histological changes, pulmonary interleukin-4 secretion, and eosinophil infiltration in the OVA and FA exposed rats were significantly higher after gaseous FA exposures of 417 and 2500 ppb. While FA exposure alone did not induce significant structural changes to the airway, and the rate of inflammatory cell infiltration was the same as for the control group, pulmonary levels of interferon-gamma were significantly elevated in the exposed rats.
CONCLUSIONS: FA may be an irritant as well as serve as an adjuvant for the onset of asthma or asthma-like symptoms.