Immunological Risks Caused by Fibrous and Particulate Substances
The immunological risks caused by fibrous and particulate substances, especially the effects caused by asbestos fibers and silica particles, are discussed in this chapter. Patients with silicosis often suffer from autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic sclerosis, and antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody–related vasculitis. Silica particles, SiO2, may influence directly various immune cells resulting in the production of many autoantibodies and imbalance between responder and regulatory T cells. The core chemical content of asbestos fibers is Si and O, although the physical feature is different. Considering the complications in asbestos-exposed patients, malignant tumors, such as lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma, are the most important. To think about these situations, asbestos fibers may cause the reduction of antitumor immunity. The experimental findings and measurements of various immunological parameters in silicosis patients, as well as asbestos-exposed population, such as patients with pleural plaque and mesothelioma, are demonstrated and discussed in this chapter.
Part of the book: Environmental Health Risk
A New Method to Determine Natural Killer Cell Activity Without Target Cells
Natural killer (NK) cell activity is a conventional parameter used to determine the performance lytic activity against tumor as well as virus-infected cells in innate immunity. However, use of this parameter has several problems related to bioassay measurements. To measure NK cell activity, target cells and cell culture equipment are required and adequate pre-culture of target cells is needed to maintain constant sensitivity for NK cells. NK cell-activating receptors play an important role in the recognition of targets, which transduce the signals necessary for cellular machinery to induce target injury and cytokine production. We statistically examined the parameters related to the NK cell activity of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) by multiple regression analysis, and obtained a formula with NK cell % and RNA levels of two genes in isolated NK cells. The score calculated using this formula with the three measured values showed significant correlation with NK cell activity. This prediction score, named the non-incubating natural killer (NINK) score, which is independent of target cells, is not affected by inappropriate preparation of those targets, and allows us to accurately compare the performance of NK cell activity among specimens.
Part of the book: Natural Killer Cells
Cytotoxicity Caused by Asbestos Fibers and Acquisition of Resistance by Continuous Exposure in Human T Cells
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
Autoantibodies in Silicosis Patients: Silica-Induced Dysregulation of Autoimmunity
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
Alteration of Various Lymphocytes by Particulate and Fibrous Substances
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
Biological Effects of Negatively Charged Particle-Dominant Indoor Air Conditions
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
Trials for Health Promotion by Indoor Environment Modifications View all chapters
Two attempts to address health issues by indoor environment modifications are introduced. One approach involves enhancement of natural killer cell activity by negatively charged particle dominant indoor air conditions (NCPDIAC) resulting from extra-porous charcoal paint and application of an electric voltage on the wall surface to adsorb positively charged small particles (approx. 20 nm in diameter). This apparatus creates relatively continuous NCPDIAC. The other approach involves prevention of pollen allergy symptoms by a cloth containing specific ore powder (CCSNOP). With the former approach, we engaged in short-term (2.5 hour), middle-term (2 W night stay), and long-term (3 M) stays under NCPDIAC and found that IL-2 levels increased under short-term stays and that natural killer cell activity was enhanced in middle- and long-term stay experiments. Implementation of this strategy may partially prevent the occurrence of cancers and viral-mediated diseases. With the latter approach, a 1-hour stay within a CCSNOP room resulted in improvement of symptoms in patients with pollen allergies in addition to a reduction in bad moods caused by any remaining symptoms. In both cases, longer-term experiments should be performed in an effort to confirm and delineate the biological effects of these indoor environment modifications on human health problems.
Part of the book: Indoor Environment and Health