A procedure for the isolation of asbestos bodies from lung tissue by exploiting their magnetic properties: a new approach to asbestos body study

Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. 2007 Jul;70(14):1232-40. [Link]

Borelli V, Brochetta C, Melato M, Rizzardi C, Polentarutti M, Busatto C, Vita F, Abbate R, Gotter R, Zabucchi G.

Department of Physiology and Pathology, University of Trieste, Italy. borelliv@units.it


The role of asbestos bodies (and associated proteinacious coating) in asbestos associated diseases is not well understood. Currently employed methods of isolation of these bodies employ harsh chemicals that lead to destruction of their proteinacious coating. In this work a method was developed that enabled the purification of whole, integral, unmodified asbestos bodies (AB) by exploiting their magnetic properties. Albumin and ferritin were found to be the major proteins associated with AB isolated from lung tissue of mesothelioma patients. Magnetically isolated AB were shown to be cytotoxic and to activate free radical production from inflammatory cells at a higher extent than that induced by bodies obtained by chemical digestion. The finding that hypochlorite-treated AB induce DNA damage, while AB obtained by the method described in this article failed to do so, together with the differential behavior of these bodies toward inflammatory cells, suggests that native asbestos bodies should be used to investigate the pathogenetic role of these structures.