The effects of barium concentration levels on the pulmonary inflammatory response in a rat model of aspiration

Rumi Ueha, Nogah Nativ-Zeltzer, Taku Sato, Takao Goto, Akihito Yamauchi, Peter C. Belafsky, Tatsuya Yamasoba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Barium sulfate (Ba) suspension is the most widely used contrast agent for upper gastrointestinal and videofluoroscopic swallow studies (VFSS). The effect of Ba concentration on lung injury is uncertain. The aims of this study were to explore the effects of different barium concentrations on the respiratory organs and elucidate the underlying mechanisms of these effects in an established animal model of aspiration. Methods: Animal model study. Eight-week-old male Sprague–Dawley rats were allocated into three groups (n = 12, each group). Two groups underwent tracheal instillation of low (30% w/v) and high (60% w/v) concentration Ba (low-Ba, high-Ba). A control group was instilled with saline. Half of the animals were euthanized on day 2 and the remaining half were euthanized on day 30. Histological and gene analyses were performed. Results: Both low-Ba and high-Ba aspiration caused inflammatory cell infiltration in the lung at 2 days post aspiration with an increase in the expression of inflammatory cytokines. At 30 days post aspiration, small quantities of barium particles remained in the lung of the low-Ba group without any inflammatory reaction. Chronic inflammation was recognized in the high-Ba group up to 30 days post aspiration. Conclusion: A small amount of high concentration Ba (60% w/v) caused sustained inflammation in the rat lung at least 30 days after aspiration. Even with a small amount of low concentration Ba aspiration (30% w/v), Ba particles can remain in the lung over a month, causing sustained late effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-196
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Barium aspiration
  • Concentration
  • Contrast agent
  • Inflammatory response
  • Lung


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