A protective role for T lymphocytes in asbestos-induced pulmonary inflammation and collagen deposition

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 1994 Nov;11(5):531-9. doi: 10.1165/ajrcmb.11.5.7946383.


Several lines of evidence have suggested that specific (i.e., lymphocyte) immunity plays a role in chemical-induced pulmonary diseases, including asbestosis. To evaluate the influence of cell-mediated immunity in pulmonary inflammation and fibrosis evoked by asbestos fibers, we compared the effects of asbestos in immunodeficient mice (Balb/c nu/nu and severe combined immunodeficient [C3H-SCID]), immunologically normal mice of the same genetic background, and immunodeficient mice reconstituted with syngeneic T lymphocytes. Increases in lavaged cell numbers occurred in asbestos-treated immunodeficient mice compared with asbestos-treated immunocompetent or immunodeficient mice that received T lymphocytes. Differential analysis of the collected cells in treated mice demonstrated a predominantly neutrophilic infiltrate that correlated with increased levels of leukotriene B4 and prostaglandin E2. There were no significant differences between immunocompetent and athymic asbestos-treated mice in bronchoalveolar lavaged total protein. However, asbestos-treated SCID mice revealed a significant increase in protein content and lactate dehydrogenase activity compared with asbestos-treated normal mice, which did not occur in T lymphocyte-reconstituted SCID mice. Fibronectin levels were elevated in asbestos-exposed athymic mice when compared with air-exposed athymic mice or asbestos-exposed immunocompetent mice. Both asbestos-treated athymic and SCID mice showed a significant increase in total lung hydroxyproline when compared with asbestos-treated immunocompetent mice. Lung hydroxyproline was also reduced in asbestos-exposed SCID mice after T lymphocyte reconstitution and, conversely, increased in T cell-depleted Balb/c mice.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asbestos, Serpentine / toxicity*
  • Asbestosis / immunology*
  • Asbestosis / metabolism
  • Base Sequence
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / cytology
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / immunology
  • Collagen / metabolism*
  • Dinoprostone / metabolism
  • Fibronectins / metabolism
  • Hydroxyproline / metabolism
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Interferon-gamma / genetics
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Leukotriene B4 / metabolism
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Lung / immunology*
  • Lung / metabolism*
  • Lung / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Mice, Nude
  • Mice, SCID
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / immunology
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Asbestos, Serpentine
  • Fibronectins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Leukotriene B4
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Collagen
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • Dinoprostone
  • Hydroxyproline