Oghiso, Y. and Yamada, Y. Pathogenetic Process of Lung Tumors Induced by Inhalation Exposures of Rats to Plutonium Dioxide Aerosols.

Sequential examinations were done on the pulmonary cytokinetics and pulmonary lesions in rats after inhalation exposure to 239PuO2 aerosols to investigate the pathogenesis of lung tumors. Total cell yields of lavaged bronchoalveolar cells as well as the estimated numbers of pulmonary alveolar macrophages were significantly reduced from 1 to 3 months after exposure but recovered thereafter to the control levels. The proportions of multinucleated or micronucleated pulmonary alveolar macrophages increased significantly in lavaged cells from 1 month, and the increase was sustained up to 18 months after exposure. Both tumor necrosis factor and nitric oxide were shown to be differentially released from stimulated cultures of pulmonary alveolar macrophages during the period from 6 to 18 months after exposure. The labeling indices of alveolar and bronchiolar epithelial cells treated with 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine increased significantly in lungs from 3 months and were sustained up to 18 months after exposure. Histopathological examinations revealed that after the early inflammation, hyperplasia and metaplasia of the lining of the bronchioloalveolar epithelium were predominant from 3 to 6 months, while adenomatous or adenocarcinomatous lesions appeared and developed from 12 months after exposure. The appearance of primary lung tumors, almost all of which were adenomas and adenocarcinomas, was found in the dose range of 1 to 2 Gy from 12 months after exposures. These results indicate that the pathogenetic process initiated by early cellular damage and alterations associated with inflammation is followed by the proliferative and metaplastic lesions of pulmonary epithelium, leading to the appearance and development of pulmonary neoplasms from 1 year after the inhalation exposures in rats that received a minimum lung dose of more than 1 Gy.

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