Asbestos causes lung fibrosis known as asbestosis as well as cancers such as malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer. Asbestos is a mineral silicate containing iron, magnesium, and calcium with a core of SiO2. The immunological effect of silica, SiO2, involves the dysregulation of autoimmunity because of the complications of autoimmune diseases found in silicosis. Asbestos can therefore cause alteration of immunocompetent cells to result in a decline of tumor immunity. Additionally, due to its physical characteristics, asbestos fibers remain in the lung, regional lymph nodes, and the pleural cavity, particularly at the opening sites of lymphatic vessels. Asbestos can induce chronic inflammation in these areas due to the production of reactive oxygen/nitrogen species. As a consequence, immunocompetent cells can have their cellular and molecular features altered by chronic and recurrent encounters with asbestos fibers, and there may be modification by the surrounding inflammation, all of which eventually lead to decreased tumor immunity. In this paper, the brief results of our investigation regarding reduction of tumor immunity of immunocompetent cells exposed to asbestos in vitro are discussed, as are our findings concerned with an investigation of chronic inflammation and analyses of peripheral blood samples derived from patients with pleural plaque and mesothelioma that have been exposed to asbestos.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis