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Kinetics of the bronchoalveolar leucocyte response in rats during exposure to equal airborne mass concentrations of quartz, chrysotile asbestos, or titanium dioxide.
  1. K Donaldson,
  2. R E Bolton,
  3. A Jones,
  4. G M Brown,
  5. M D Robertson,
  6. J Slight,
  7. H Cowie,
  8. J M Davis
  1. Institute of Occupational Medicine, Edinburgh.


    The kinetics of the bronchoalveolar response was assessed in rats exposed, at equal airborne mass concentration (10 mg/m3), to titanium dioxide--a non-pathogenic dust--and the two pathogenic mineral dusts quartz and chrysotile asbestos. Rats were killed at intervals over a 75 day exposure period and groups of rats exposed for 32 and 75 days after recovery for two months. Bronchoalveolar lavage was carried out and the lavage fluid characterised for cellular content, macrophage activation, and concentrations of free total protein, lactate dehydrogenase, and N-acetyl-beta-D-glucosaminidase. Inhalation exposure to the two pathogenic dusts resulted in an increased number of leucocytes, macrophage activation, and increased levels of free enzymes and total protein. The pattern and magnitude of the responses to quartz and chrysotile differed. Chrysotile caused less inflammation than quartz, and the main cellular response peaked around the middle of the period of dust exposure whereas the highest levels of enzymes occurred towards the end. The difference in timing suggests that macrophages were not available for lavage towards the end of the exposure, owing to their playing a part possibly in deposition of granulation tissue. Quartz caused a greater cellular and enzyme response than chrysotile, particularly towards the end of the dust exposure phase. There was a noticeable progression of inflammation in the quartz exposed groups left to recover for two months, but not in the chrysotile recovery groups.

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