• VOCs;
  • lung inflammation;
  • ROS;
  • mice;
  • mediator


Inflammatory lung diseases are characterized by chronic inflammation and oxidant/antioxidant imbalance. Exposure to some kinds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) leads to lung inflammation, oxidative stress, and immune modulation. However, it is suspected that sub-chronic exposure to low-dose VOCs mixture induces or aggravates lung inflammation. To clarify the effect of this exposure on lung inflammatory responses, 40 male Kunming mice were exposed in four similar static chambers, 0 (control) and three different doses of VOCs mixture (groups 1–3). The concentrations of VOCs mixture were as follows: formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, and xylene 0.10 + 0.11 + 0.20 + 0.20 mg/m3, 0.50 + 0.55 + 1.00 + 1.00 mg/m3, 1.00 + 1.10 + 2.00 + 2.00 mg/m3, respectively, which corresponded to 1, 5, and 10 times of indoor air quality standard in China. After 90 consecutive days of exposure (2 h/day), oxidative stress markers in lung, cellular infiltration and cytokines, chemokine, neurotrophin in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), and immunoglobulin (Ig) in serum were examined. VOCs exposure could increase significantly reactive oxygen species (ROS) in lung, the levels of interleukin-8 (IL-8), IL-4, eotaxin, nerve growth factor (NGF), and various types of leukocytes in BALF, IgE concentration in serum. In contrast, GSH to GSSG ratio and interferon-gamma were significantly decreased following the VOCs exposure. These results indicate that the VOCs mixture-induced inflammatory response is at least partly caused by release of the ROS and mediators from the activated eosinophils, neutrophils, alveolar macrophages and epithelial cells. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol 2013.