Chrysotile asbestos inhalation in rats: deposition pattern and reaction of alveolar epithelium and pulmonary macrophages

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1981 Jun;123(6):670-9. doi: 10.1164/arrd.1981.123.6.670.


The initial deposition and subsequent translocation of chrysotile asbestos were studied in the lungs of rats exposed for 1 h in inhalation chambers. Using scanning and transmission electron microscopy of tissue fixed by vascular perfusion, we determined that the majority of fibers that pass through the conducting airways deposits at the bifurcations of alveolar ducts. The farther an alveolar duct bifurcation was from its terminal bronchiole, the less asbestos were observed. The amount of asbestos present on the alveolar duct surfaces was significantly decreased 5 h after cessation of the 1-h exposure. Some fibers were taken up by Type I epithelial cells during the first hour of dusting, and this process continued through the 8-day period in which the animals were studied. As early as 24 h after exposure, there was an accumulation of macrophages at the sites of initial asbestos deposition. This may be a significant cellular response in the early pathogenesis of asbestosis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asbestos* / adverse effects
  • Asbestos, Serpentine
  • Asbestosis / etiology
  • Asbestosis / pathology*
  • Bronchi / pathology
  • Cell Movement
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Macrophages / physiology
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / pathology
  • Pulmonary Circulation
  • Rats
  • Time Factors


  • Asbestos, Serpentine
  • Asbestos