The time course of responses to intratracheally instilled toxic Stachybotrys chartarum spores in rats

Rao CY, Burge HA, Brain JD

Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA. cnr3@cdc.gov

Stachybotrys chartarum is a fungal species that can produce mycotoxins, specifically trichothecenes.
Exposures in the indoor environment have reportedly induced neurogenic symptoms in adults and hemosiderosis in infants.
 
We present here a study that focuses on quantitatively assessing the health risks from fungal toxin exposure. Male, 10 week old Charles River-Dawley rats were intratracheally instilled with approximately 9.6 million Stachybotrys chartarum spores in a saline suspension. The lungs were lavaged 0 h (i.e., immediately post-instillation), 6, 24 or 72 h after instillation. Biochemical indicators (albumin, myeloperoxidase, lactic dehydrogenase, hemoglobin) and leukocyte differentials in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and weight change were measured. We have demonstrated that a single, acute pulmonary exposure to a large quantity of Stachybotrys chartarum spores by intratracheal instillation causes severe injury detectable by bronchoalveolar lavage.
 
The primary effect appears to be cytotoxicity and inflammation with hemorrhage. There is a measurable effect as early as 6 h after instillation, which may be attributable to mycotoxins in the fungal spores. The time course of responses supports early release of some toxins, with the most severe effects occurring between 6 and 24 h following exposure. By 72 h, recovery has begun, although macrophage concentrations remained elevated.

PMID: 11227851 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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