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Application of laser scanning confocal microscopy in the analysis of particle-induced pulmonary fibrosis.

Antonini JM; Charron TG; Roberts JR; Lai J; Blake TL; Rogers RA
Toxicol Sci 1999 Sep; 51(1):126-134
Laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM) allows us to simultaneously quantitate the degree of lung fibrosis and distinguish various pathological lesions of intact lung tissue. Lucifer Yellow has been shown an ideal fluorescent stain to examine the connective tissue matrix components of embedded lung tissue with LSCM. We evaluated the use of LSCM in quantitating lung fibrosis and compared this procedure with the more traditional method of assessing fibrosis by measuring hydroxyproline, a biochemical assay of collagen. CD/VAF rats were intratracheally dosed with silica (highly fibrogenic), Fe2O3 (non- fibrogenic), and saline (vehicle control) at a high dose of 10-mg/100 g body weight. At 60 days post-instillation, the left lung was dissolved in 6 M HCl and assayed for hydroxyproline. Silica induced increases of 58% and 94% in hydroxyproline content over the Fe2O3 and control groups, respectively. The right lung lobes were fixed, sectioned into blocks, dehydrated, stained with Lucifer Yellow (0.1 mg/ml), and embedded in Spurr plastic. Using LSCM and ImageSpace software, the tissue areas of ten random scans from ten blocks of tissue for each of the three groups were measured, and three-dimensional reconstructions of random areas of lung were generated. The silica group showed increases of 57% and 60% in the lung areas stained by Lucifer Yellow over the Fe2O3 and control groups, respectively. Regression analysis of hydroxyproline vs. lung tissue area demonstrated a significant positive correlation (p < 0.05) with a correlation coefficient of 0.91. Histological analysis of right lung tissue revealed a marked degree of granulomatous interstitial pneumonitis for the silica group, which was absent in the Fe2O3 and control groups. No significant differences (p < 0.05) in hydroxyproline content and measured tissue area were observed between the Fe2O3 and control groups. LSCM, and its associated advanced image analysis and three-dimensional capabilities, is an alternative method to both quickly quantitate and examine fibrotic lung disease without physical disruption of the tissue specimen.
Microscopic-analysis; Microscopy; Lung-disease; Lung-disorders; Lung-tissue; Fibrosis; Silica-dusts; Respiratory-system-disorders; Respiratory-irritants; Respirable-dust; Particulate-dust; Dust-particles; Dust-inhalation; Dust-exposure; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Pulmonary-system; Pulmonary-disorders; Author Keywords: Confocal microscopy; lung fibrosis; silica; Lucifer Yellow; hydroxyproline
James M. Antonini, Health Effects Laboratory Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Morgantown, West Virginia 26505, USA
7631-86-9; 1345-25-1
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Toxicological Sciences
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division