Impact of Different Asbestos Species and other Mineral Particles on Pulmonary Pathogenesis

C.J. van Oss1, 2, 3, J.O. Naim4, P.M. Costanzo3, R.F. Giese Jr.3, W. Wu5 and A.F. Sorling6, †
1 Department of Microbiology, SUNY at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York 14214, USA
2 Department of Chemical Engineering, SUNY at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York 14214, USA
3 Department of Geology, SUNY at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York 14214, USA
4 Department of Surgery, Rochester General Hospital, Rochester, New York 14621, USA
5 Department of Chemistry, SUNY at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York 14214, USA
6 Department of Medical Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19111, USA
Present address: Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19140 USA. E-mail of corresponding author:

Abstract: Factors that are potentially important in the pulmonary pathogenesis of asbestos and other mineral particles are: 1) morphology, 2) Fe-content, 3) solubility under intra-phagosomal conditions, 4) value and sign of the surface potential of the particle, 5) hydrophobicity or hydrophilicity, 6) capacity to activate phagocytic leukocytes, and 7) duration of exposure to the particles. The order of importance of these factors in causing severe or fatal pulmonary pathogenicity is estimated to be: 1 > 3 > 7 > 6 ≫ 5 > 4 > 2. The order of pathogenicity of the minerals is estimated as: amphibole asbestos: crocidolite, tremolite, amosite > erionite > serpentine asbestos: chrysotile > talc > silica > simple metal oxides. Particle length, duration of exposure to the particles, and pre-treatment of the particles may however enhance the pathogenic potential of any of the lower-ranked particles.

Key Words: Asbestos • Clays • Lung • Neutrophils • Pathology • Phagocytosis • Physicochemical • Silica • Talc

Clays and Clay Minerals; December 1999 v. 47; no. 6; p. 697-707; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1999.0470603
© 1999, The Clay Minerals Society
Clay Minerals Society (