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Nitrogen dioxide, an air pollutant which in sufficient concentration and exposure can kill humans and animals, has a secondary effect at low concentrations of reducing resistance to infection, work at Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute indicates.
Richard Ehrlich, PhD, director of the Life Sciences Research Division, told JAMAMedical News that studies involved respiratory challenge with airborne Klebsiella pneumoniae.Data thus far acquired do not permit interpretation of cellular mechanisms involved. But, he said, there appears to be a relationship between pathogenesis and such factors as ciliary and phagocytic damage.Increased enzyme activity and altered isoenzyme ratios in the lactic dehydrogenase system also are to be considered, Dr. Ehrlich added.While the work points to definite relationships between air pollutants and changes in resistance to respiratory infection in laboratory animals, Dr. Ehrlich emphasized, data remain to be acquired about effects in humans.
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Nitrogen Dioxide Lowers Resistance. JAMA. 1966;198(4):43. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110170025010