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Inhalation toxicology

Changes in intracellular pH play a secondary role in hydrogen sulfide-induced nasal cytotoxicity.


PMID 16399658

Abstract

Hydrogen sulfide (H(2)S) is a naturally occurring gas that is also associated with several industries. The potential for widespread human inhalation exposure to this toxic gas is recognized as a public health concern. The nasal epithelium is particularly susceptible to H(2)S-induced pathology. Cytochrome oxidase inhibition is postulated as one mechanism of H(2)S toxicity. Another mechanism by which the weak acid H(2)S could cause nasal injury is intracellular acidification and cytotoxicity. To further understand the mechanism by which H(2)S damages the nasal epithelium, nasal respiratory and olfactory epithelial cell isolates and explants from naive rats were loaded with the pH-sensitive intracellular chromophore SNARF-1 and exposed to air or 10, 80, 200, or 400 ppm H(2)S for 90 min. Intracellular pH was measured using flow cytometry or confocal microscopy. Cell lysates were used to quantify total protein and cytochrome oxidase activity. A modest but statistically significant decrease in intracellular pH occurred following exposure of respiratory and olfactory epithelium to 400 ppm H(2)S. Decreased cytochrome oxidase activity was observed following exposure to >10 ppm H(2)S in both respiratory and olfactory epithelia. None of the treatments resulted in cytotoxicity. The intracellular acidification of nasal epithelial cells by high-dose H(2)S exposure and the inhibition of cytochrome oxidase at much lower H(2)S concentrations suggest that changes in intracellular pH play a secondary role in H(2)S-induced nasal injury.

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