(HealthDay News) — Acute ozone exposure increases stress hormones and causes alterations in peripheral lipid metabolism in humans, according to research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Desinia B. Miller, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues examined ozone-induced metabolic derangement in humans using serum metabolomic assessment. They obtained serum samples from a crossover clinical study, which included 2 clinic visits where each subject was blindly exposed in the morning to either filtered air or 0.3 ppm ozone for 2 hours during a 15 minute on-off exercise. Serum samples were collected from 24 subjects at each visit within 1 hour after exposure.

Based on metabolomic analysis, the researchers found that ozone exposure markedly increased serum cortisol and corticosterone, as well as increasing monoacylglycerol, glycerol, and medium- and long-chain free fatty acids. 

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Ozone exposure also increased serum lysolipids; circulating mitochondrial beta-oxidation-derived metabolites, such as acylcarnitines; and the ketone body 3-hydroxybutyrate.

“As in rodents, acute ozone exposure increased stress hormones and globally altered peripheral lipid metabolism in humans, likely through activation of neurohormonally-mediated stress response pathway,” the researchers wrote. “The metabolomic assessment revealed new biomarkers and allowed for establishment of rodent to human coherence.”


  1. Miller DB, Ghio AJ, Karoly ED, et al. Ozone Exposure Increases Circulating Stress Hormones and Lipid Metabolites in Humans. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2016;doi:10.1164/rccm.201508-1599OC.