(HealthDay News) – Ozone exposure in healthy young adults causes an increase in vascular markers of inflammation, changes in fibrinolytic markers that could potentially impair fibrinolysis, and changes in autonomic control of heart rate.

Robert B. Devlin, PhD, from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Research Triangle Park, NC, and colleagues exposed 23 young healthy individuals to clean air and to 0.3ppm ozone for two hours during intermittent exercising. Before exposure, immediately after exposure, and the next morning, blood was obtained. Participants used a continuous Holter monitor immediately after exposure for a 24-hour period. Additionally, lung function was performed immediately before and immediately after exposure, and bronchoalveolar lavage was performed 24 hours after exposure.

The researchers found a 98.9% increase in interleukin-8, a 21.4% decrease in plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, a 51.3% decrease in the high-frequency component of heart rate variability, and a 1.2% increase in QT duration, immediately after ozone exposure. Twenty-four hours after exposure, changes in interleukin-1B and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 were apparent. Participants also had ozone-induced drops in lung function and an increase in pulmonary inflammation.

“This study provides a plausible explanation for the link between acute ozone exposure and death,” Devlin said in a statement.

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