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Meeting abstract | Open | Published:

A placebo-controlled study on the effects of corticosteroid inhalation therapy in ammonia induced lung injury in rabbits


The use of inhalation corticosteroids in toxic pulmonary oedema caused by exposure to irritating gases is controversial. Their effects have not been demonstrated in controlled studies.

Study design

A randomised blind placebo-controlled study of the effects of budesonide inhalation in a rabbit model of toxic lung injury induced by ammonia inhalation.


Sixteen New Zealand White rabbits.


Lung injury was induced by inhalation of a defined amount of aerosolised ammonia. Thirty and 150 min later the animals were randomised to receive either inhalation therapy with 0.5 mg budesonide or placebo.

Measurements and results

Airway pressures, haemodynamics and gas exchange were measured at baseline, 5 and 15 min after the ammonia administration, and every 30 min during a 6-h period after the first blind inhalation therapy with corticosteroids or placebo. The ammonia inhalation resulted in an acute severe lung injury detected after 15 min as a decrease in PaO2 from 23.3 (± 3.6) to 11.0 (±3.6) kPa (P < 0.005) and an increase in peak airway pressure from 13 (±2) to 17 (±2) cmH2O (P < 0.005). During the 6-h observation period, the blood gas parameters improved in all rabbits. In comparison to placebo, budesonide did not result in improved gas exchange or reduced airway pressure levels during the observation period.


In this animal model, corticosteroid inhalation therapy had no acute effects on ammonia induced lung injury.

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  • Lung Injury
  • Airway Pressure
  • Budesonide
  • Zealand White Rabbit
  • Severe Lung