Quantitative Evaluation on the Degradation Process of the Pulmonary Surfactant Monolayer When Exposed to Low-Level Ozone of Ambient Environment

Lin Qiao, Zhen Chen, Chunji Takada, Hitoshi Chiba, Ken Ichi Inoue, Shu Ping Hui, Shen Ye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Ozone is a potent environmental oxidant with high chemical reactivity and is present in the ambient environment at a low level of a few tens of ppb. However, only limited information is known about low-level ozone's influence on the respiratory system. In the present study, we systematically investigated the degradation of 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC), which is one of the major components of the pulmonary surfactant (PS), enabling breath function of the lung exposed to low ambient-level ozone (40 ± 10 ppb). Using the liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry technique combined with the Langmuir-Blodgett approach, we first tracked the degradation process of POPC molecules by determining the degradation products during exposure to the ambient environment. As a result, we found that the POPC molecules can be readily degraded from the C═C moiety in 45 min, yielding an aldehyde-type product of 1-palmitoyl-2-(9′-oxo-nonanoyl)-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POnPC) and a trace amount of an acid-type one of 1-palmitoyl-2-azelaoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (PAzPC), as well as a pair of secondary ozonide (SOZ) isomers. Furthermore, with prolonged exposure, the SOZ stayed constant but the yield of PAzPC significantly increased with the decrease in POnPC. The low-level ozone-induced oxidation mechanisms for unsaturated lipids are discussed based on the quantitative analyses of these experimental observations. The present results demonstrate that the ground-level ozone is strong enough to induce dramatic oxidation damage to the unsaturated lipids of the PS. These oxidized species may trigger the lung's inflammatory response and be used as biomarkers for oxidative stress and inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8651-8658
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jun 21


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