The aim of this study was to determine the bronchoalveolar leukocyte response to airborne coal mine dust; quartz and titanium dioxide were used as positive and negative controls, respectively. Groups of rats were exposed to airborne mass concentrations of 10 and 50 mg/m3 of the dusts for 7 hr/day, 5 days/week and their bronchoalveolar space was lavaged at time points between 2 and 75 days of exposure, to assess the leukocyte response. This study revealed time-dependent and airborne mass concentration-dependent recruitment of neutrophils and macrophages into the bronchoalveolar region with coal mine dust inhalation but no real difference in the magnitude of the response between coal mine dusts from collieries mining coal of different rank and quartz content although the maximum quartz content in the dusts used was 6%. The inflammatory response was much less than that produced by quartz, at similar airborne mass concentrations, and more than that produced by titanium dioxide which was, in general, a poor inflammogen in the rat lung. Groups of rats were exposed to the airborne dusts for 32 or 75 days, then removed from the exposure chambers, and allowed to recover by breathing room air for a further 64 days. During this recovery period there was marked progression of the leukocyte response with quartz and persistence of the response with coal mine dust. Chronic recruitment of leukocytes to the lungs of individuals inhaling coal mine dust is likely to be an important factor in the development of coal workers' pneumoconiosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science(all)