The cytotoxic effects of asbestos fibers on human T cells and the acquisition of resistance against asbestos-induced apoptosis have been studied. These analyses are based on the establishment of a continuous and relatively low-dose exposure model of human immune cells exposed to asbestos that resembles actual exposure in the human body. The MT-2 T cell line was selected as the candidate for the investigations. A transient and high-dose exposure to chrysotile resulted in apoptosis with production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and activation of the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. However, sublines continuously exposed to low dose of asbestos exhibited resistance to asbestos-induced apoptosis. The mechanism of resistance acquisition involved excess production of IL-10, activation of STAT3, and enhanced expression of Bcl-2 located downstream of STAT3. These changes were also found in a subline continuously exposed to crocidolite. Furthermore, sublines showed a marked decrease in the expression of forkhead box O1 (FoxO1) transcription factor. FoxO1 is known to regulate apoptosis and various other cellular processes. Regarding apoptosis, sublines continuously exposed to asbestos showed reduction of FoxP1-driven proapoptotic genes. This pathway is also considered one of the mechanisms that result in resistance to asbestos-induced apoptosis in sublines. These sublines also exhibited several characteristics suggesting reduction of antitumor immunity.
Part of the book: Cytotoxicity
Silica particles cause silicosis (SIL) and represent one of the most typical environmental and occupational substances that induce autoimmune disorders among the exposed population. Anti-nuclear antibody (ANA), anti-Sjögren’s-syndrome-related antigen A (SS-A), anti-centromere protein B (CENP)-B, and anti-scleroderma (Scl)-70 autoantibodies were examined in SIL and compared with those in healthy volunteers (HV) and patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc). Individuals with SIL were prone to autoimmune diseases and some autoantibodies seemed to be important as an estimation of this condition. Anti-Fas autoantibody found in SIL was functionally capable of inducing apoptosis in Fas-expressing cells, and this may cause a decrease of regulatory T cells (Tregs) expressing Fas in SIL. Moreover, responder T cells (Tresps) in SIL seemed to be activated chronically and protected from Fas-mediated apoptosis. Thus, an imbalance of Tresps (dominant) and Tregs (less) occurred in SIL. All of these causes of SIL are ready to further develop autoimmune diseases.
Part of the book: Autoantibodies and Cytokines
Various occupational and environmental substances alter the cellular and molecular function of the human lymphoid system. For example, silicosis patients who have been chronically exposed to silica particles often complicate with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic sclerosis. From our investigations, silica particles affect CD4+ responder T cells and regulatory T cells (Tregs), which results in the disruption of autoimmunity. Asbestos fibers are a type of mineral silicate, and patients exposed to asbestos fibers revealed cancers such as mesothelioma and lung cancer. In these cases, asbestos fibers may reduce antitumor immunity. Our results investigating the effect of asbestos on cytotoxic T lymphocyte, natural killer (NK) cells, CD4+ cells, and Tregs revealed a reduction in antitumor immunity. To date, the effects of silica and asbestos on Th17 cells and antigen-presenting cells such as dendritic cells and macrophages remain unclear. Based on these findings, it will be possible to generate earlier detection methods to identify the occurrence of immune alterations in silicosis as well as the appearance of a decreased antitumor immunity in asbestos-exposed populations. Additionally, research efforts should also be directed at discovering and identifying physiological substances from foods, plants, and other sources that can restore the immune status in people exposed to particulate and fibrous substances.
Part of the book: Lymphocytes
To identify health-promoting indoor air conditions, we developed negatively charged particle-dominant indoor air conditions (NCPDIAC). Experiments assessing the biological effects of NCPDIAC comprised (1) 2.5-h stays in NCPDIAC or control rooms, (2) 2-week nightly stays in control followed by NCPDIAC rooms, (3) 3-month OFF to ON and ON to OFF trials in individual living homes equipped with NPCDIAC in their sleeping or living rooms, and (4) in vitro assays comparing the immune effects between negatively charged particle-dominant and control cell culture incubators. The most significant difference examined between NCPDIAC and control rooms in the 2.5-h stays was an increase in interleukin (IL)-2 with occupancy of the NCPDIAC room. For the 2-week nightly stay experiments, natural killer (NK) cell activity increased with occupancy of the NCPDIAC room. The 3-month OFF to ON trial showed an increase in NK cell activity, while the ON to OFF trial yielded a decrease in NK cell activity. Additionally, the in vitro assays also showed an increase in NK cell activity. The use of NCPDIAC resulted in increased NK cell activity, which has the effect of enhancing immune surveillance for the occurrence of cancer and improving symptoms associated with viral infections.
Part of the book: Charged Particles