We investigated the effects of antibiotics, drugs, and metals on lung and intestinal microbiomes after sub-chronic exposure of low-level air pollution in ageing rats. Male 1.5-year-old Fischer 344 ageing rats were exposed to low-level traffic-related air pollution via whole-body exposure system for 3 months with/without high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration (gaseous vs. particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter of ≤2.5 µm (PM2.5) pollution). Lung functions, antibiotics, drugs, and metals in lungs were examined and linked to lung and fecal microbiome analyses by high-throughput sequencing analysis of 16 s ribosomal (r)DNA. Rats were exposed to 8.7 μg/m3 PM2.5, 10.1 ppb NO2, 1.6 ppb SO2, and 23.9 ppb O3 in average during the study period. Air pollution exposure decreased forced vital capacity (FVC), peak expiratory flow (PEF), forced expiratory volume in 20 ms (FEV20), and FEF at 25∼75% of FVC (FEF25–75). Air pollution exposure increased antibiotics and drugs (benzotriazole, methamphetamine, methyl-1 H-benzotriazole, ketamine, ampicillin, ciprofloxacin, pentoxifylline, erythromycin, clarithromycin, ceftriaxone, penicillin G, and penicillin V) and altered metals (V, Cr, Cu, Zn, and Ba) levels in lungs. Fusobacteria and Verrucomicrobia at phylum level were increased in lung microbiome by air pollution, whereas increased alpha diversity, Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria and decreased Firmicutes at phylum level were occurred in intestinal microbiome. Lung function decline was correlated with increasing antibiotics, drugs, and metals in lungs as well as lung and intestinal microbiome dysbiosis. The antibiotics, drugs, and Cr, Co, Ca, and Cu levels in lung were correlated with lung and intestinal microbiome dysbiosis. The lung microbiome was correlated with intestinal microbiome at several phylum and family levels after air pollution exposure. Our results revealed that antibiotics, drugs, and metals in the lung caused lung and intestinal microbiome dysbiosis in ageing rats exposed to air pollution, which may lead to lung function decline.
- Air pollution
- Lung function