A protective role for T lymphocytes in asbestos-induced pulmonary inflammation and collagen deposition.

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Several lines of evidence have suggested that specific (i.e., lymphocyte) immunity plays a role in chemical-induced pulmonary diseases, including asbestosis. To evaluate the influence of cell-mediated immunity in pulmonary inflammation and fibrosis evoked by asbestos fibers, we compared the effects of asbestos in immunodeficient mice (Balb/c nu/nu and severe combined immunodeficient [C3H-SCID]), immunologically normal mice of the same genetic background, and immunodeficient mice reconstituted with syngeneic T lymphocytes. Increases in lavaged cell numbers occurred in asbestos-treated immunodeficient mice compared with asbestos-treated immunocompetent or immunodeficient mice that received T lymphocytes. Differential analysis of the collected cells in treated mice demonstrated a predominantly neutrophilic infiltrate that correlated with increased levels of leukotriene B4 and prostaglandin E2. There were no significant differences between immunocompetent and athymic asbestos-treated mice in bronchoalveolar lavaged total protein. However, asbestos-treated SCID mice revealed a significant increase in protein content and lactate dehydrogenase activity compared with asbestos-treated normal mice, which did not occur in T lymphocyte-reconstituted SCID mice. Fibronectin levels were elevated in asbestos-exposed athymic mice when compared with air-exposed athymic mice or asbestos-exposed immunocompetent mice. Both asbestos-treated athymic and SCID mice showed a significant increase in total lung hydroxyproline when compared with asbestos-treated immunocompetent mice. Lung hydroxyproline was also reduced in asbestos-exposed SCID mice after T lymphocyte reconstitution and, conversely, increased in T cell-depleted Balb/c mice.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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