The interaction of UICC crocidolite asbestos with biological membranes in vivo was studied in rats after a single intratracheal dose of a suspension of 20 mg of fibres per rat. Development of lung fibrosis (increased level of hydroxyproline, a collagen index together with corresponding pathomorphological alteration) confirmed the penetration of crocidolite fibres into the lungs in the course of seven months exposure. The pulmonary deposition of crocidolite affected the lysosomal membranes of lung cells as manifested by (1) enhanced lipid peroxidation with (2) stimulation (release) of activity of beta-glucuronidase and cathepsin D. Enhanced lipid peroxidation and activity of beta-glucuronidase may contribute to the delayed, carcinogenic effects of crocidolite asbestos.
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