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Your Environment. Your Health.

Respiratory Toxicology Group

Inhalation Studies

Daniel L. Morgan, Ph.D., D.A.B.T.
Dan Morgan, Ph.D.
Group Leader
Tel (919) 541-2264
Fax (919) 541-0356
530 Davis Dr
Keystone Building
Durham, NC 27713

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Research Summary

The Respiratory Toxicology Group conducts studies of chemicals for which inhalation is the primary route of human exposure. Inhalation of environmental and occupational toxicants is a major contributing factor to human health problems. Although respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, and cancer are a major focus, nonpulmonary diseases caused by inhaled toxicants are also studied. Research efforts of the Respiratory Toxicology group are directed toward understanding the biochemical and molecular mechanisms of toxicity of inhaled chemicals that are of interest to the NTP. These studies support the NTP testing program by providing information on inhalation dosimetry, target organs, and potential mechanisms of toxicity for NTP chemicals.

Rat Lung
Bronchiolar fibrosis in a rat exposed by inhalation to the flavoring agent 2,3-pentanedione.  Bronchiole showing complete erosion of the mucosal epithelium, with fibrin deposition in the lumen, organizing fibroplasia of the lamina propria, and fibrosis of the smooth muscle and adventitial layers.  The inflammatory infiltrate is mixed, with a predominance of lymphocytes and histiocytes.

Exposure of laboratory animals by inhalation closely duplicates the way that humans are exposed to airborne toxicants, and is essential for studying the role of chemicals in respiratory disease. Animal inhalation studies are conducted at the NIEHS inhalation facility, which is operated by an on-site contractor with oversight by the Respiratory Toxicology Group. The inhalation facility provides the expertise and state-of-the-art inhalation exposure systems for designing and conducting inhalation studies of laboratory animals for DNTP and DIR investigators.

Major areas of research:

  • Biochemical and molecular mechanisms of inhaled environmental and occupational chemicals
  • Pulmonary toxicity of metals and metal compounds

Current projects:

  • Molecular pathogenesis of bronchiolitis obliterans in rats caused by inhaled reactive α-diketones in artificial butter flavoring
  • Pulmonary and pleural toxicity of indium and indium compounds in B6C3F1 mice
  • Evaluation of potential mechanisms for formaldehyde induced leukemia in B6.129-Trp53tm1Brd and C3B6.129F1-Trp53tm1Brd mice exposed by inhalation

Daniel L. Morgan, Ph.D., D.A.B.T., is head of the Respiratory Toxicology group in the NTP Laboratory. He received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Kansas in 1982, and is a board- certified Toxicologist. Dr. Morgan completed his postdoctoral work in the Department of Pharmacology and Medicine at Duke University Medical Center. He then continued his research in the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Laboratory of Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology at Duke University Medical Center before joining the NIEHS in 1988. Currently he is a project leader for National Toxicology Program inhalation studies and project officer for the NIEHS inhalation facility.

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