Open Access Open Badges Research

Comparison of particle-exposure triggered pulmonary and systemic inflammation in mice fed with three different diets

Alexander A Götz1*, Jan Rozman24, Heiko G Rödel3, Helmut Fuchs4, Valérie Gailus-Durner4, Martin Hrabě de Angelis45, Martin Klingenspor2 and Tobias Stoeger1*

Author Affiliations

1 Comprehensive Pneumology Center, Institute of Lung Biology and Disease, Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Ingolstädter Landstraße 1, Neuherberg/Munich, D-85764, Germany

2 Molecular Nutritional Medicine, Else Kröner-Fresenius Center, TUM, Am Forum 5, Freising-Weihenstephan, D-85350, Germany

3 Laboratory of Experimental and Comparative Ethology E.A. 4443 (LEEC), Université Paris 13, Sorbonne Paris Cité, F-93430 Villetaneuse, France

4 Institute of Experimental Genetics, Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Ingolstädter Landstraße 1, 85764 Neuherberg/Munich, D-85764, Germany

5 Chair for Experimental Genetics, TUM, Am Hochanger 8, Freising-Weihenstephan, D-85350, Germany

For all author emails, please log on.

Particle and Fibre Toxicology 2011, 8:30  doi:10.1186/1743-8977-8-30

Published: 27 September 2011



Obesity can be linked to disease risks such as diabetes and cardiovascular disorders, but recently, the adipose tissue (AT) macrophage also emerges as actively participating in inflammation and immune function, producing pro- and anti-inflammatory factors. Connections between the AT and chronic lung diseases, like emphysema and asthma and a protective role of adipocyte-derived proteins against acute lung injury were suggested.

In this study we addressed the question, whether a diet challenge increases the inflammatory response in the alveolar and the blood compartment in response to carbon nanoparticles (CNP), as a surrogate for ambient/urban particulate air pollutants.


Mice were fed a high caloric carbohydrate-rich (CA) or a fat-rich (HF) diet for six weeks and were compared to mice kept on a purified low fat (LF) diet, respectively. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and blood samples were taken 24 h after intratracheal CNP instillation and checked for cellular and molecular markers of inflammation.

Results and discussion

The high caloric diets resulted in distinct effects when compared with LF mice, respectively: CA resulted in increased body and fat mass without affecting blood cellular immunity. Conversely, HF activated the blood system, increasing lymphocyte and neutrophil counts, and resulted in slightly increased body fat content. In contrast to higher pro-inflammatory BAL Leptin in CA and HF mice, on a cellular level, both diets did not lead to an increased pro-inflammatory basal status in the alveolar compartment per se, nor did result in differences in the particle-triggered response. However both diets resulted in a disturbance of the alveolar capillary barrier as indicated by enhanced BAL protein and lactate-dehydrogenase concentrations. Systemically, reduced serum Adiponectin in HF mice might be related to the observed white blood cell increase.


The increase in BAL pro-inflammatory factors in high caloric groups and reductions in serum concentrations of anti-inflammatory factors in HF mice, clearly show diet-specific effects, pointing towards augmented systemic inflammatory conditions. Our data suggest that extended feeding periods, leading to manifest obesity, are necessary to generate an increased susceptibility to particle-induced lung inflammation; although the diet-challenge already was efficient in driving pro-inflammatory systemic events.

diet; caloric; obesity; immune cell; bronchoalveolar lavage; inflammation; resolution; molecular