Ozone (O3) is a reactive gas that has been associated with adverse health effects in children and adults. Effects on the respiratory system are well established and include exacerbation of asthma (acute effects) and effects on lung growth (chronic effects). More recently, long-term exposure to ozone has been associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes, including increased mortality. It is unclear, however, at what ozone concentrations effects start occurring. HEI's research program on ozone focuses on effects at low concentrations and on mechanisms of effects.
Ozone in a nutshell:
Ozone is created by atmospheric reactions on sunny days
Building blocks are nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds
Ground level ozone affects lung and heart health and affects crops
This New Investigator Award study is evaluating whether injury after exposure to ozone is mediated through changes in the lung and blood of levels of oxidized phospholipids. This will be tested in normal mice and in mice genetically lacking the Scavenger Receptor B1 that binds oxidized phospholipids.
This multi-center study focused on the effects of ozone in human volunteers, aged 55 to 70 years, who were exposed in chambers to near ambient levels of ozone with intermittent exercise. Effects on the cardiovascular system, along with changes in pulmonary function, inflammation and oxidative stress were studied. Part 1 has been published. Part 2 of the study is ongoing, to further analyze the participants' prior exposures to ambient air pollutants and conduct additional analyses of the rich dataset.