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Article
July 1971

The Response of Lung Tissue and Surfactant to Nitrogen Dioxide Exposure

Author Affiliations

University Park, Pa

From the Center for Air Environment Studies, Human Performance Research Laboratory, and Electrical Engineering Department, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa. Dr. Williams is now with the Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio.

Arch Intern Med. 1971;128(1):101-108. doi:10.1001/archinte.1971.00310190105013
Abstract

A control group of rats was exposed to filtered air and an experimental group to nitrogen dioxide levels of 15 ppm. Surface tension-area curves were recorded from fresh lung washings of excised lungs. Total phospholipid and lecithin concentrations were determined as an index of surfactant quantity, and an analysis of the surface tension-area curves was made by computer techniques. Total phospholipid and lecithin concentrations from the experimental animals were significantly higher, but the percentage contributed by lecithin was nearly identical for both groups. Nitrogen dioxide exposure at this level appears to alter the properties of surfactant demonstrated on surface tension balance, since higher trough concentrations of the experimental wash produced nearly normal surface tension-area loops. Changing surface tension properties of surfactant may be important in nitrogen dioxide-induced pulmonary injury.

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