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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Pulmonary effects of sulfur dioxide exposure and ipratropium bromide pretreatment in adults with nonallergic asthma.

In this study we examined the potential short-term effect of sulfur dioxide (SO2) on total respiratory resistance and forced expiratory volume in patients with nonallergic asthma. A group of nine adult subjects with nonallergic asthma, 55 years of age or older, were exposed to SO2 at 0, 0.5, and 1.0 ppm for 20 minutes at rest followed by 10 minutes during light-moderate exercise. The measures of pulmonary function assessed were FEV1, specific total respiratory resistance (SRT), and maximal expiratory flow rates at 50% (Vmax50) and 75% (Vmax75) of expired vital capacity. Measurements were made before exposure to SO2 (baseline), postresting exposure, postexercising exposure, and at 30 minutes thereafter (recovery). Repeat measure analysis of variance revealed a statistically significant dose-response effect of SO2 inhalation on FEV1 (p = 0.008), SRT (p = 0.033), Vmax50 (p = 0.017), and Vmax75 (p = 0.048). Eight subjects had repeat exposure to SO2 at 1.0 ppm after treatment with either placebo or ipratropium bromide, 60 micrograms by metered-dose inhaler. Inpratropium bromide treatment, compared to placebo treatment, resulted in a statistically significant improvement in all baseline measures of pulmonary function: FEV1 (p = 0.017), SRT (p = 0.027), Vmax50 (p = 0.018), and Vmax75 (p = 0.035). However, this drug did not significantly alter the proportionate change in pulmonary function caused by SO2 inhalation in these subjects. These findings indicate that adults with nonallergic asthma are sensitive to short-term low-level SO2 exposure and that treatment with 60 micrograms of ipratropium bromide causes significant bronchodilation but does not protect, completely, these patients from the effect of SO2 inhalation.[1]


  1. Pulmonary effects of sulfur dioxide exposure and ipratropium bromide pretreatment in adults with nonallergic asthma. McManus, M.S., Koenig, J.Q., Altman, L.C., Pierson, W.E. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. (1989) [Pubmed]
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