Mouse lung structure and function after long-term exposure to an atmospheric carbon dioxide level predicted by climate change modeling

Alexander N. Larcombe, Melissa G. Papini, Emily K. Chivers, Luke J. Berry, Robyn M. Lucas, Caitlin S. Wyrwoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Climate change models predict that atmospheric carbon dioxide [CO2 ] levels will be between 700 and 900 ppm within the next 80 y. Despite this, the direct physiological effects of exposure to slightly elevated atmospheric CO2 (as compared with ∼ 410 ppm experienced today), especially when exposures extend from preconception to adulthood, have not been thoroughly studied. OBJECTIVES: In this study we aimed to assess the respiratory structure and function effects of long-term exposure to 890 ppm CO2 from preconception to adulthood using a mouse model. METHODS: We exposed mice to CO2 ( ∼ 890 ppm) from prepregnancy, through the in utero and early life periods, until 3 months of age, at which point we assessed respiratory function using the forced oscillation technique, and lung structure. RESULTS: CO2 exposure resulted in a range of respiratory impairments, particularly in female mice, including higher tissue elastance, longer chord length, and lower lung compliance. Importantly, we also assessed the lung function of the dams that gave birth to our experimental subjects. Even though these mice had been exposed to the same level of increased CO2 for a similar amount of time ( ∼ 8 wk), we measured no impairments in lung function. This suggests that the early life period, when lungs are undergoing rapid growth and development, is particularly sensitive to CO2 . DISCUSSION: To the best of our knowledge, this study, for the first time, shows that long-term exposure to environmentally relevant levels of CO2 can impact respiratory function in the mouse. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP7305.

Original languageEnglish
Article number017001
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Volume129
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

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