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Exp Mol Pathol. 1985 Jun;42(3):331-43.

Transmigration of titanium dioxide (TiO2) particles in rats after inhalation exposure.


Titanium dioxide (TiO2) has been used extensively in the manufacturing of white pigment and has generally been regarded as a nuisance dust in animals and man. After inhalation exposure, little is known about transmigration routes and potential toxic effects of translocated particles in other organs. In order to answer these questions, rats were exposed to TiO2 by inhalation exposure at concentrations of 0, 10, 50, and 250 mg/m3 for 2 years. A few free particles were retained in the nasal and tracheobronchial epithelium without any cellular damage, but aggregates of dust-laden macrophages (dust cells) were found in the lymphoid tissue of the submucosa. Inhaled particles were mostly engulfed by alveolar macrophages and confined sharply to the alveolar duct region at 10 and 50 mg/m3, while dust cells were scattered throughout alveoli at 250 mg/m3. A fraction of the inhaled particles was retained in the membranous pneumocytes and interstitial macrophages. A dense accumulation of dust cells was found in the perivascular and peribronchial lymphoid tissue. Some dust cells entered peribronchial lymphatics or pulmonary blood vessels and the general circulation. Dust cells in the hyperplastic peribronchial lymphoid tissue were exposed directly in the luminal surface of the airways and were subsequently eliminated via airways. Massive dust deposition was observed in the tracheobronchial lymph nodes. Dust transmigration was markedly reduced in the cervical lymph nodes, and only a trace amount of dust particles was found in the mesenteric lymph nodes. Some dust cells entered either blood or lymphatic vessels in the lymph nodes and then migrated into the general circulation. The incidence of extrapulmonary dust deposition in the liver or spleen was increased in a dose-related fashion similar to the lung dust burden. Since there was no tissue response to translocated particles in the lymph nodes, spleen, or liver, potential adverse health effects appear to be negligible.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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