Pulmonary toxicity of simulated lunar and Martian dusts in mice: II. Biomarkers of acute responses after intratracheal instillation

Chiu Wing Lam, John T. James, Judith N. Latch, Raymond F. Hamilton, Andrij Holian

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43 Scopus citations


Volcanic ashes from Arizona and Hawaii, with chemical and mineral properties similar to those of lunar and Martian soils, respectively, are used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to simulate lunar and Martian environments for instrument tests. NASA needs toxicity data on these volcanic soils to assess health risks from potential exposures of workers in facilities where these soil simulants are used. In this study we investigated the acute effects of lunar soil simulant (LSS) and Martian soil simulant (MSS), as a complement to a histopathological study assessing their subchronic effects (Lam et al., 2002). Fine dust of LSS, MSS, TiO2, or quartz suspended in saline was intratracheally instilled into C57BI/6J mice (4/group) in single doses of 0.1 mg/mouse or 1 mg/mouse. The mice were euthanized 4 or 24 h after the dust treatment, and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was obtained. Statistically significant lower cell viability and higher total protein concentration in the BALF were seen only in mice treated with the high dose of quartz for 4 h and with the high dose of MSS or quartz for 24 h, compared to mice treated only with saline. A significant increase in the percentage of neutrophils was not observed with any dust-treated group at 4 h after the instillation, but was observed after 24 h in all the dust-treated groups. This observation indicates that these dusts were not acutely toxic and the effects were gradual; it took some time for neutrophils to be recruited into and accumulate significantly in the lung. A statistically significant increase in apoptosis of lavaged macrophages from mice 4 h after treatment was found only in the high-dose silica group. The overall results of this study on the acute effects of these dusts in the lung indicate that LSS is slightly more toxic than TiO2, and that MSS is comparable to quartz. These results were consistent with the subchronic histopathological findings in that the order of severity of lung toxicity was TiO2 < LSS < MSS < quartz.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)917-928
Number of pages12
JournalInhalation Toxicology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2002


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