Pulmonary responses to silica dust : the influence of crystalline structures and physico-chemical properties

Abstract : The inhalation of silica crystalline polymorphs leads to the development of pulmonary nodules that vary in extent and in fibrotic content. In this study, a single protocol was used to test different silica samples (i.e., 2 non-crystalline samples: one vitreous silica, one diatomaceous earth , 4 crystalline samples: one pure a-quartz ground in a wet atmosphere, one of the same quartz heated until it becomes oc-cristobalite and 2 cristobalites obtained by heating diatomaceous earth). Wistar rats received a single intra-tracheal injection of alveolar dust and were followed over a period of 3 months. The results were exploited using macroscopic examination (wet lung weight), histological examination and biochemical dosing (hydroxyproline, lipid, and silica content). The results showed that vitreous silica, diatomaceous earth, wet-ground quartz and both types of cristobalites are responsible to a greater or lesser extent for the pulmonary reaction typical of exposure to silica (i.e., nodules ); with different cellular and fibrotic surface areas for each sample. a-cristobalite (obtained from the wet-ground quartz heated to a very high temperature; 1,300 °C) leads to the formation of only small foreign-body granulomas. All crystalline minerals tested caused alveolar lipoproteinosis. It was thus concluded that the crystalline structure plays a less important role than the surface state in the formation of silicotic nodules.
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Sylvie Honnons, Dominique Oberson, Agnès Wastiaux, S. Dzwigaj, H. Pezerat, et al.. Pulmonary responses to silica dust : the influence of crystalline structures and physico-chemical properties. 2. International Symposium on Silica Silicosis & Cancer, Oct 1993, San Francisco, United States. ⟨ineris-00971883⟩

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