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Comput Biol Med. 2011 Jul;41(7):565-73. doi: 10.1016/j.compbiomed.2011.05.009. Epub 2011 May 31.

A computer model for the simulation of fiber-cell interaction in the alveolar region of the respiratory tract.

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Brunnleitenweg 41, A-5061 Elsbethen, Salzburg, Austria.


A mathematical model is presented that describes the health-endangering interaction of fibrous particles deposited in the human alveoli with alveolar fluids, cells, and tissues. As suggested by the theoretical approach, short fibers (diameter: 0.5 μm, length: 2-10 μm) are preferably ingested by alveolar macrophages and removed from the alveolar surface 10-15 days after exposure. Long (diameter: 0.5 μm, length: 10-50 μm) biopersistent fibers are not effectively cleared from the alveoli due to the repeated process of frustrated phagocytosis. Long biosoluble fibers also undergo a frustrated phagocytosis, with processes of extensive lysis leading to their significant shortening. The decrease in length causes the initiation of those clearance mechanisms that are efficient for short fibers.

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