The depressive activity of both serpentine (Canadian and Rhodesian chrysotiles) and amphibole (amosite, crocidolite, and anthophyllite) asbestos fibres on interferon induction by influenza virus was significantly diminished or abolished completely when either asbestos fibres or LLC-MK2 cell monolayers were pretreated with poly(4-vinylpyridine-N-oxide). Maximal antagonistic activity of the polymer was time and concentration dependent. Pretreating asbestos fibres with the polymer was more rapid and effective in encouraging viral interferon synthesis than pretreating cell monolayers. Virus multiplication in the presence of asbestos fibre-treated cell monolayers attained a twofold higher level than that noted in normal cell monolayers or those containing polymer-pretreated asbestos fibres. These findings were related to the suppression of interferon production.
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