Cardiac and thermoregulatory effects of instilled particulate matter-associated transition metals in healthy and cardiopulmonary-compromised rats. Academic Article uri icon


  • Particulate matter air pollution has been associated with cardiopulmonary morbidity and mortality in many recent epidemiological studies. Previous toxicological research has demonstrated profound cardiac and thermoregulatory changes in rats following exposure to residual oil fly ash (ROFA), a combustion-derived particulate. The response to ROFA appeared biphasic, consisting of both immediate (0-6 h) and delayed (24-96 h) bradycardia and hypothermia. Other studies have demonstrated that much of the pulmonary toxicity of ROFA was caused by its constitutive transition metals, namely, Fe, Ni, and V. This study examined the contributions of these metals to the observed cardiac and thermoregulatory changes caused by ROFA in conscious, unrestrained rats. Prior to exposure, each animal was surgically implanted with a radiotelemetry device capable of continuously monitoring heart rate, electrocardiographic, and core temperature data. Individual metals were intratracheally instilled in healthy rats (n = 4 per metal species) and in rats with monocrotaline (MCT; 60 mg/kg)-induced pulmonary hypertension (n = 10 per metal species); combinations of metals were instilled in MCT-treated rats only (n = 6 per combination of metal species). Metals were administered in doses equivalent to those found in the highest dose of ROFA used in previous studies, that is, 105 microg Fe(2)(SO(4))(3), 263 microg NiSO(4), and 245 microg VSO(4). Healthy and MCT-treated rats demonstrated similar responses to metals. Fe caused little response, whereas V caused marked bradycardia, arrhythmogenesis, and hypothermia immediately following instillation and lasting approximately 6 h. Ni caused no immediate response, but induced a delayed bradycardia, arrhythmogenesis, and hypothermia that began approximately 24 h after instillation and lasted for several days. When instilled in combination, Ni appeared to exacerbate the immediate effects of V, whereas Fe attenuated them. These data suggest that the biphasic response to instilled ROFA may result from a summation of the temporally different effects of V and Ni.

publication date

  • October 2002