Libby, MT is the site of a closed vermiculite mine that produced ore contaminated with asbestos-like amphiboles. Worldwide distribution of the material and the long latency period for manifestation of asbestos-related diseases (ARDs) has created a significant health threat for many years to come. The composition of the Libby material [termed the Libby amphibole (LA)] differs from other well-studied types of asbestos in that it is a mixture of several amphibole fibers. The purpose of this study was to determine the fibrotic effects of LA exposure in a mouse model and to compare these effects to those of a wellcharacterized amphibole fiber, crocidolite asbestos. We exposed C57Bl/6 mice to LA or crocidolite and analyzed lung RNA, protein, and morphology at 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months post instillation. Our results indicate that both forms of amphibole studied induced increased collagen types I and III mRNA expression and collagen protein deposition in exposed murine lungs compared to the PBS-instilled control lungs, and that these collagen increases were the most significant at 1 month after exposure. However, crocidolite-exposed mice demonstrated greater increases in collagen deposition than those exposed to LA, indicating that the fibrotic effects of LA exposure, although not as severe as those of crocidolite in this model system, were still able to induce collagen deposition.
- Extracellular matrix