Endotoxin responsiveness and subchronic grain dust-induced airway disease

Caroline L S George, Hong Jin, Christine L. Wohlford-Lenane, Marsha E. O'Neill, John C. Phipps, Patrick O'Shaughnessy, Joel N. Kline, Peter S. Thorne, David A. Schwartz

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67 Scopus citations


Endotoxin is one of the principal components of grain dust that causes acute reversible airflow obstruction and airway inflammation. To determine whether endotoxin responsiveness influences the development of chronic grain dust-induced airway disease, physiological and airway inflammation remodeling parameters were evaluated after an 8-wk exposure to corn dust extract (CDE) and again after a 4-wk recovery period in a strain of mice sensitive to (C3H/HeBFeJ) and one resistant to (C3H/HeJ) endotoxin. After the CDE exposure, both strains of mice had equal airway hyperreactivity to a methacholine challenge; however, airway hyperreactivity persisted only in the C3H/HeBFeJ mice after the recovery period. Only the C3H/HeBFeJ mice showed significant inflammation of the lower airway after the 8-wk exposure to CDE. After the recovery period, this inflammatory response completely resolved. Lung stereological measurements indicate that an 8-wk exposure to CDE resulted in persistent expansion of the airway submucosal cross-sectional area only in the C3H/ HeBFeJ mice. Collagen type III and an influx of cells into the subepithelial area participated in the expansion of the submucosa. Our findings demonstrate that subchronic inhalation of grain dust extract results in the development of chronic airway disease only in mice sensitive to endotoxin but not in mice that are genetically hyporesponsive to endotoxin, suggesting that endotoxin is important in the development of chronic airway disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L203-L213
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number2 24-2
StatePublished - Feb 2001


  • Airway remodeling
  • Asthma
  • Environmental exposure
  • Genetics

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