Selected new developments in asbestos immunotoxicity

Environ Health Perspect. 1998 Feb;106 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):159-69. doi: 10.1289/ehp.98106s1159.


Research over the past three decades has shown that the mammalian immune system can be altered by the occupational exposure of asbestos. Early clinical studies generally focused on systemic observations of immune alteration such as the number and function of peripheral lymphocytes and monocytes. More recently as the regulatory influence of local immunity in health and disease becomes more defined, immunologic changes occurring in the lung, the primary target organ of asbestos, have been significant areas of investigation. This review will focus on recent studies that examine the influence of asbestos on pulmonary immunity as well as the role of host immune competence in asbestos-related disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asbestos / toxicity*
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Immune System / drug effects*
  • Immunity, Innate / drug effects
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Killer Cells, Natural / drug effects
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Asbestos
  • Iron