ABSTRACT: COREXIT EC9500A (COREXIT) was used to disperse crude oil during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. While the environmental impact of COREXIT has been examined, the pulmonary effects are unknown. Investigations were undertaken to determine whether inhaled COREXIT elicits airway inflammation, alters pulmonary function or airway reactivity, or exerts pharmacological effects. Male rats were exposed to COREXIT (mean 27 mg/m(3), 5 h). Bronchoalveolar lavage was performed on d 1 and 7 postexposure. Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and albumin were measured as indices of lung injury; macrophages, neutrophils, lymphocytes, and eosinophils were quantified to evaluate inflammation; and oxidant production by macrophages and neutrophils was measured. There were no significant effects of COREXIT on LDH, albumin, inflammatory cell levels or oxidant production at either time point. In conscious animals, neither breathing frequency nor specific airway resistance were altered at 1 hr, 1 d and 7 d postexposure. Airway resistance responses to methacholine (MCh) aerosol in anesthetized animals were unaffected at 1 and 7 d postexposure, while dynamic compliance responses were decreased after 1 d but not 7 d. In tracheal strips, in the presence or absence of MCh, low concentrations of COREXIT (0.001% v/v) elicited relaxation; contraction occurred at 0.003-0.1% v/v. In isolated, perfused trachea, intraluminally applied COREXIT produced similar effects but at higher concentrations. COREXIT inhibited neurogenic contractile responses of strips to electrical field stimulation. Our findings suggest that COREXIT inhalation did not initiate lung inflammation, but may transiently increase the difficulty of breathing.
Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Part A 11/2011; 74(21):1381-96. · 1.83 Impact Factor