Camarinho, R., Garcia, P.V., Choi, H. & Rodrigues, A.S. (2021) Pulmonary oxidative stress and apoptosis in mice chronically exposed to hydrothermal volcanic emissions.Environmental Science & Pollution Research, 28, 35709-35716. DOI:10.1007/s11356-021-13043-0 (IF2021 5,190; Q2 Environmental Sciences)
Recent studies have shown that exposure to hydrothermal emissions has a negative impact on the respiratory system. Still, volcanogenic air pollution studies are still outnumbered when compared to anthropogenic studies which can result in an unknown risk to the human populations living near volcanically active areas. This study was carried out in São Miguel Island, with noneruptive volcanically active environments, such as the Furnas volcano caldera. Its noneruptive volcanism presents itself as hydrothermal emissions, mainly by the release of nearly 1000 T d−1 of CO2 along with H2S, and the radioactive gas radon; metals [e.g., mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), and zinc (Zn)] and particulate matter are also released in a daily basis. We test the hypothesis whether chronic exposure to hydrothermal emissions causes pulmonary oxidative stress, using Mus musculus as a surrogate species. Mus musculus was live-captured in two villages with hydrothermal emissions and one village without any type of volcanic activity. The level of pulmonary oxidative stress was immunohistochemically assessed by using an OxyIHCTM Oxidative stress detection kit, and the detection of terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT)-mediated dUTP nick end-labeling (TUNEL) was used to evaluate apoptosis in lung tissues. Mice chronically exposed to hydrothermal emissions presented increased levels of oxidative stress and amount of apoptotic cells. We demonstrate, for the first time, the high oxidative stress potential in the lungs of mice chronically exposed to hydrothermal emissions. This study highlights the usefulness of M. musculus as a bioindicator species and enforces the necessity of regularly biomonitor the inhabitants of hydrothermal areas to prevent respiratory pathologies.