The frequency and volume of Asian sand dust (ASD) (Kosa) are increasing in Japan, and it has been reported that ASD may cause adverse respiratory effects. The pulmonary toxicity of ASD has been previously analyzed in mice exposed to ASD particles by intratracheal instillation. To study the pulmonary toxicity induced by inhalation of ASD, ICR mice were exposed by inhalation to 50 or 200 mg/m3
Kanto loam powder, which resembles ASD in elemental composition and particle size, for 6 h a day over 1, 3, 6, 9, or 15 consecutive days. Histological examination revealed that Kanto loam powder induced acute inflammation in the whole lung at all the time points examined. The lesions were characterized by infiltration of neutrophils and macrophages. The intensity of the inflammatory changes in the lung and number of neutrophils in both histological lesions and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) appeared to increase over time. Immunohistochemical staining showed interleukin (IL)-6- and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α-positive macrophages and a decrease in laminin positivity in the inflammatory lesions of the lung tissues. Electron microscopy revealed vacuolar degeneration in the alveolar epithelial cells close to the Kanto loam particles. The nitric oxide level in the BALF increased over time. These results suggest that inhaled Kanto loam powder may induce diffuse and acute pulmonary inflammation, which is associated with increased expression of inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress.
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