Camarinho, R., Garcia, P.V., Choi, H. & Rodrigues, A.S. (2019) Overproduction of TNF-α and lung structural remodelling due to chronic exposure to volcanogenic air pollution.Chemosphere, 222, 227-234. DOI:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.01.138 (IF2019 5,778; Q1 Environmental Sciences)
Volcanogenic air pollution studies and their effects on the respiratory system are still outnumbered by studies regarding the effects of anthropogenic air pollution, representing an unknown risk to human population inhabiting volcanic areas worldwide (either eruptive or non-eruptive areas). This study was carried in the archipelago of the Azores- Portugal, in two areas with active volcanism (Village of Furnas and Village of Ribeira Quente) and a reference site (Rabo de Peixe). The hydrothermal volcanism of Furnas volcanic complex is responsible for the release of 1000 t d−1 of CO2, H2S, the radioactive gas – radon, among others. Besides the gaseous emissions, particulate matter and metals (Hg, Cd, Zn, Al, Ni, etc.) are also released into the environment. We tested a hypothesis whether chronic exposure to volcanogenic air pollution causes lung structural remodelling, in the house mouse, Mus musculus, as a bioindicator species. Histopathological evaluations were performed to assess the amount of macrophages, mononuclear leukocyte infiltrate, pulmonary emphysema, and the production of pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-α. Also, the percentage of collagen and elastin fibers was calculated. Mice chronically exposed to volcanogenic air pollution presented an increased score in the histopathological evaluations for the amount of macrophages, mononuclear leukocyte infiltrate, pulmonary emphysema and production of TNF-α; and also increased percentages of collagen and elastin. For the first time, we demonstrate that non-eruptive active volcanism has a high potential to cause lung structural remodelling. This study also highlights the Mus musculus as a useful bioindicator for future biomonitoring programs in these type of volcanic environments.