2015 Volume 56 Issue 1 Pages 74-83
The cellular mechanisms involved in the development of silicosis have not been fully elucidated. This study aimed to examine influence of silica-induced lung injury on autophagy. Suspensions of crystalline silica particles were administered transnasally to C57BL/6j mice. Immunohistochemical examination for Fas and p62 protein expression was performed using lung tissue specimens. Two-dimensional and quantitative analysis of silica deposits in the lungs were performed in situ using lung tissue sections by an in-air microparticle induced X-ray emission (in-air micro-PIXE) analysis system, which was based on irrradiation of specimens with a proton ion microbeam. Quantitative analysis showed a significant increase of iron levels on silica particles (assessed as the ratio of Fe relative to Si) on day 56 compared with day 7 (p<0.05). Fas and p62 were expressed by histiocytes in granulomas on day 7, and the expressions persisted for day 56. Fas- and p62-expressing histiocytes were co-localized in granulomas with silica particles that showed an increase of iron levels on silica particles in mouse lungs. Iron complexed with silica induces apoptosis, and may lead to dysregulations of autophagy in histiocytes of granulomas, and these mechanisms may contribute to granuloma development and progression in silicosis.