Trimellitic anhydride (TMA) dust induces airway obstruction and eosinophilia in non-sensitized guinea pigs

Christen P. Larsen, Jean F. Regal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Trimellitic anhydride (TMA) causes asthma after a latency period of sensitization. In non-sensitized humans and animals, limited studies indicate that TMA exposure may also cause symptoms of asthma without a latency period. Our previous studies (J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 296 (2001) 284) in a guinea pig model of TMA-induced asthma demonstrated that sensitization and the complement system were required for eosinophilia. TMA conjugated to guinea pig serum albumin (TMA-GPSA) was used to elicit the response. Since occupational exposure to TMA occurs by inhalation of dust, the present studies determined if exposure to TMA dust in a non-sensitized guinea pig elicited airway obstruction and inflammation, and whether a significantly greater response occurred after a latency period of sensitization. Guinea pigs were intradermally injected with either corn oil (non-sensitized animals) or 30% TMA (sensitized animals). Three weeks later they were challenged by intratracheal insufflation with 1 mg TMA dust or lactose dust (control) using a dry powder delivery device. Pulmonary resistance, dynamic lung compliance, mean arterial blood pressure and heart rate were monitored for 10 min. In non-sensitized guinea pigs, significant increases in pulmonary resistance and decreases in dynamic lung compliance and blood pressure occurred after TMA challenge. In sensitized animals, the same dose of TMA caused significantly greater effects compared to non-sensitized animals. In a separate experiment, cellular infiltration into the lung was determined 24 h after challenge with TMA dust or lactose dust. In both non-sensitized and sensitized animals, eosinophils in the lung tissue were increased after TMA dust challenge compared to controls. Thus, these studies suggest that the response in non-sensitized animals differs depending on whether TMA dust or TMA-GPSA is used to elicit the response. TMA dust elicits significant airway obstruction and eosinophilia in a non-sensitized animal, with even greater airway obstruction occurring in a sensitized animal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-99
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, grant NIH ES 07406. The authors thank Margaret Mohrman for expert technical assistance and Dr Ronald Regal, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Minnesota, Duluth, for assistance in statistical analysis of data.


  • Bronchoconstriction
  • Eosinophil
  • Guinea pig
  • Occupational asthma
  • TMA
  • Trimellitic anhydride


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