Background/AimsOzone is an environmentally reactive oxidant, and pycnogenol is a mixture of flavonoid compounds extracted from pine tree bark that have antioxidant activity. We investigated the effects of pycnogenol on reactive nitrogen species, antioxidant responses, and airway responsiveness in BALB/c mice exposed to ozone.MethodsAntioxidant levels were determined using high performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection. Nitric oxide (NO) metabolites in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid from BALB/c mice in filtered air and 2 ppm ozone with pycnogenol pretreatment before ozone exposure (n = 6) were quantified colorimetrically using the Griess reaction.ResultsUric acid and ascorbic acid concentrations were significantly higher in BAL fluid following pretreatment with pycnogenol, whereas γ-tocopherol concentrations were higher in the ozone exposed group but were similar in the ozone and pycnogenol pretreatment groups. Retinol and γ-tocopherol concentrations tended to increase in the ozone exposure group but were similar in the ozone and pycnogenol pretreatment groups following ozone exposure. Malonylaldehyde concentrations increased in the ozone exposure group but were similar in the ozone and pycnogenol plus ozone groups. The nitrite and total NO metabolite concentrations in BAL fluid, which parallel the in vivo generation of NO in the airways, were significantly greater in the ozone exposed group than the group exposed to filtered air, but decreased with pycnogenol pretreatment.ConclusionsPycnogenol may increase levels of antioxidant enzymes and decrease levels of nitrogen species, suggesting that antioxidants minimize the effects of acute ozone exposure via a protective mechanism.
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