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Occupational and Environmental Lung Disease |

Additional Proteins in BAL Fluid of Metsovites Environmentally Exposed to Asbestos*: More Evidence of “Protection” Against Neoplasia?

Vassiliki Galani, PhD; Stavros Constantopoulos, MD, FCCP; Carmen Manda-Stachouli, MD; Maria Frangou-Lazaridis, PhD; Anestis Mavridis, MD; Miltiadis Vassiliou, MD; Yotanna Dalavanga, MD
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*From the Department of Pneumonology (Drs. Constantopoulos, Manda-Stachouli, and Vassiliou), Laboratory of Anatomy-Histology-Embryology (Drs. Dalavanga and Galani), Laboratory of Biological Chemistry (Dr. Frangou-Lazaridis), University of Ioannina, Medical School and Microbiology Laboratory (Dr. Mavridis), “G. Hatzikosta” General Hospital, Ioannina, Greece.

Correspondence to: Yotanna Dalavanga, MD, Laboratory of Anatomy-Histology-Embryology, University of Ioannina, Medical School, Ioannina,45110, Greece, e-mail: ydalavan@cc.uoi.gr.



Chest. 2002;121(1):273-278. doi:10.1378/chest.121.1.273
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Introduction: Inhabitants of Metsovo in northwest Greece have been exposed to asbestos from use of a tremolite-containing whitewash (“luto” soil). As a result, they have increased incidence of malignant pleural mesothelioma and pleural calcifications (PCs). However, subjects with calcifications have a much lower incidence of mesothelioma than those without. A previous study of the two groups with BAL revealed higher proportional lymphocytosis among subjects with calcifications. We suggested that BAL lymphocytosis may be somehow correlated with “protection” against neoplasia.

Methods: The present report is a study of the liquid phase of BAL in the two groups. BAL specimens of 43 Metsovites (13 subjects with PCs and 30 subjects without PCs) and two control groups were examined. We measured total protein, albumin, IgG, IgA, and interleukin-6. Proteins were analyzed with sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and two-dimensional electrophoresis and further characterized using an appropriate computer program.

Results: The most interesting finding was the presence of two additional protein spots corresponding to the electrophoretic site of Ig heavy chain and C4 component of complement. The two proteins were present in all Metsovites with PCs but in none without PCs and also in none of the control groups.

Conclusion: This study further separates two groups of Metsovites with different reaction to asbestos, possibly as a result of different activation of alveolar macrophages. This difference leads the first group to the formation of PCs, BAL fluid lymphocytosis, and relative “protection” against malignancy, and the second group to no calcifications, no lymphocytosis, but also no protection against malignancy.

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