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Am J Pathol. 1993 Apr; 142(4): 1209–1216.
PMCID: PMC1886892

Mesothelial cell proliferation after instillation of long or short asbestos fibers into mouse lung.


The relationship of asbestos deposition in the lung to subsequent cell proliferation at the pleural surface is not clear. The present study examines DNA synthesis by various pulmonary cells, particularly those at the pleura after intratracheal injection of 0.1 mg crocidolite to mice using: 1) long fibers (> 20 mu), which are deposited in bronchiolar regions and induce fibrosis; 2) short fibers (< 1 mu), which reach alveoli but do not induce fibrosis. Mice also received 2 microCi/g tritiated thymidine 1 hour before death at intervals to 16 weeks. Short fibers induced only a small increase in labeling of bronchiolar epithelial and interstitial cells, which subsided by 5 days, when a small increase in labeled mesothelial and subpleural cells was seen. In contrast, long fibers damaged the bronchiolar epithelium and became incorporated into connective tissue. During regeneration, 12% of cells were labeled at 3 days and labeling was greater than controls to 4 weeks. Increased peribronchiolar labeling of fibroblasts and interstitial macrophages was seen around long fibers, and increased DNA synthesis by mesothelial and subpleural cells was found. Up to 2% of mesothelial cells were labeled 1 week after long fibers compared to near zero in controls. No long fibers were found at the pleura. Activation of interstitial macrophages in response to long crocidolite fibers is associated with fibroblast proliferation. It is now suggested that mesothelial cells may also be stimulated by cytokines from activated interstitial macrophages that diffuse across the interstitium, without requiring actual fiber translocation to the pleura.

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Selected References

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