Possible mechanism of chrysotile asbestos-stimulated superoxide anion production in guinea pig alveolar macrophages

Paul L. Roney, Andrij Holian

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Excessive production of active oxygen radicals by macrophages is proposed to play an important role in asbestos-related diseases. The purpose of this study was to examine the capacity and mechanisms of action of various forms of asbestos to stimulate superoxide anion production by guinea pig alveolar macrophages. Chrysotile, but not the amphiboles (crocidolite, anthophyllite, or amosite), stimulated a rapid (<1 min) and dose-dependent (2.5-50 μg/ml) production of superoxide anion at noncytotoxic doses (2.5 to 25 μg/ml). The stimulation of superoxide anion production by chrysotile could be blocked by putative protein kinase C inhibitors (staurosporine, sphingosine, and fluphenazine). Chrysotile also stimulated phosphatidylinositol turnover as measured using 32Pi incorporation into phospholipids, [3H]-diacylglycerol levels, and intracellular calcium mobilization as measured using fura-2 and 45Ca. In addition, pertussis toxin partially blocked chrysotile-stimulated superoxide anion production. We conclude that the mechanism of guinea pig alveolar macrophage stimulation by chrysotile, but not the amphibole asbestos forms, is consistent with a mechanism which is similar to that used by agonists such as N-formyl-Nle-Leu-Phe resulting in stimulated phosphatidylinositol turnover, calcium mobilization, and activation of protein kinase C.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-144
Number of pages13
JournalToxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1989


The authors thank Mr. Mark Jordan for technical assistance. This study was aided by Grant BC-6 14 from the American Cancer Society.

FundersFunder number
American Cancer Society


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