The association between exposure to silica (14808607) and the development of autoimmune diseases was reviewed. Silica exposure has been linked for many years to several diseases of autoimmune origin including arthritis, systemic sclerosis, and scleroderma. More recently, at least ten studies have demonstrated excesses of autoimmune disorders such as arthritis, systemic lupus, Sjogren's syndrome, and chronic renal disease, among granite workers and gold miners with high levels of silica exposure. The activation of macrophages and the production of cytokines due to contact of quartz with the lung following inhalation resulting in the transport of macrophage bound particles to the lymph nodes and subsequent activation of the immune system, and various humoral responses such as hypergammaglobulinemia and the production of rheumatoid factor and antinuclear antibodies, along with other immune complexes has been proposed as a possible mechanism involved in silica induced autoimmune diseases.
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