Infectivity Models in Clinical Inhalation Studies
The respiratory tract, because of its role in gas exchange, has a very large surface area in continuous contact with the atmosphere. Both atmospheric pollutants and infectious microorganisms gain access to the respiratory membrane, and it is reasonable to expect that inhaled toxic substances may interfere with the ability of the airways to defend against inhaled microorganisms. In fact, evidence exists from both epidemiologic observations and animal exposure studies supporting this hypothesis. However, questions remain about which pollutants and what levels of exposure are important, who is most susceptible, what kinds of infections are involved, and the mechanisms by which susceptibility is altered. This paper will examine the role of clinical inhalation studies in providing answers to these and other questions.
KeywordsInfluenza Virus Host Defense Nitrogen Dioxide Mucociliary Clearance Pollutant Effect
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