Air pollution is frequently proposed as a cause of the increased incidence of allergy in industrialised countries. We investigated the impact of ozone (O 3) on reactive oxygen species (ROS) and allergen content of ragweed pollen ( Ambrosia artemisiifolia). Pollen was exposed to acute O 3 fumigation, with analysis of pollen viability, ROS and nitric oxide (NO) content, activity of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NAD[P]H) oxidase, and expression of major allergens. There was decreased pollen viability after O 3 fumigation, which indicates damage to the pollen membrane system, although the ROS and NO contents were not changed or were only slightly induced, respectively. Ozone exposure induced a significant enhancement of the ROS-generating enzyme NAD(P)H oxidase. The expression of the allergen Amb a 1 was not affected by O 3, determined from the mRNA levels of the major allergens. We conclude that O 3 can increase ragweed pollen allergenicity through stimulation of ROS-generating NAD(P)H oxidase.
► O 3 reduces the viability of ragweed pollen. ► ROS and allergens of ragweed pollen were not affected by O 3 exposure. ► O 3 enhances the activity of the ROS-generating enzyme NAD(P)H oxidase. ► O 3 increases ragweed pollen allergenicity through NAD(P)H-oxidase stimulation.
This study focuses on the effects of the atmospheric pollutant ozone on ROS content and NAD(P)H oxidase activity of ragweed pollen grains.