Response of mouse lung to crocidolite asbestos. 1. Minimal fibrotic reaction to short fibres

J Pathol. 1987 Jun;152(2):99-107. doi: 10.1002/path.1711520206.


To determine the relationship between the development of pulmonary fibrosis and the size of deposited asbestos, we prepared a pure sample of short crocidolite fibres and instilled 0.5 mg of 0.1 mg to the lungs of mice. Animals were killed up to 20 weeks later with 3H thymidine injected 1 h before death. By bronchoalveolar lavage, there was a rapid transient increase in polymorph neutrophils (PMN) and in glucosaminidase levels; alveolar macrophage (AM) numbers were elevated in the 0.5 mg group for eight weeks. Most fibres were phagocytized by AM, many of which were heavily laden and cleared from the lung over the 20 week period. Some fibres were seen in type 1 epithelial cells, frequently associated with cell injury. From cell kinetic studies, a very brief proliferative response was seen in bronchiolar epithelial and Type 2 alveolar epithelial cells. A greater response was seen in interstitial fibroblasts which showed increased labelling up to two weeks after 0.5 mg asbestos. However no granulomas were seen and very little fibrosis was found by morphology or by biochemistry at any time after 0.5 mg; no fibrosis was seen after instilling 0.1 mg. The results show that a high dose of exclusively short asbestos fibres produces minimal lung injury and fibrosis in spite of long standing macrophage-fibre interaction in the alveoli.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asbestos / toxicity*
  • Asbestos, Crocidolite
  • Cell Division
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / ultrastructure*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Phagocytosis
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / pathology
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / etiology*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology


  • Asbestos, Crocidolite
  • Asbestos