Adverse effects of inhaled sand dust particles on the respiratory organs of sheep and goats exposed to severe sand storms in Mongolia

Folia Histochem Cytobiol. 2014;52(3):244-9. doi: 10.5603/FHC.2014.0028.


Sand storms in Mongolia have increased in frequency and scale, resulting in increased exposure of the inhabitants of Asian countries, including Japan and Korea, to Asian sand dust (ASD), which results in adverse effects on the respiratory system. However, there is no information on the health risks of severe sand storms in domestic animals in Mongolia. The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of sand dust particles on the respiratory organs, including the lungs and tracheobronchial lymph nodes, of sheep and goats exposed to severe sand storms in Mongolia. Seven adult sheep and 4 adult goats that had been exposed to sand storms and 3 sheep with no history of exposure were included in this study. Lung tissues and tracheobronchial lymph nodes were subjected to histopathological and immunohistochemical examination. The mineralogical contents of the lungs and lymph nodes were determined using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy. Fibrosis and granulomatous lesions comprising macrophages containing fine sand dust particles were observed exclusively in the lungs of sheep and goats exposed to sand storms. The activity of macrophages was also demonstrated by the presence of IL-6, TNF, and lysozyme. In addition, silicon, which is the major element of ASD (kosa aerosol), was detected exclusively in the lung tissues of the exposed animals. Our findings suggest that exposure to sand dust particles may affect the respiratory systems of domestic animals during their relatively short life span.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum / analysis
  • Animals
  • Dust*
  • Goats*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lung / chemistry
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / pathology
  • Mongolia
  • Sheep*
  • Silicon Dioxide / analysis*
  • Trachea / pathology*
  • Wind*


  • Dust
  • Silicon Dioxide
  • Aluminum