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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Inflammatory Immune Response

The migration of the asbestos fibers out of the alveoli is a function of the small size of the fibers. This allows them to pierce the cell walls and migrate between cell boundaries into the mesothelial lining of the pleural cavity or even into the intrapleural space. There, they sometimes penetrate the diaphragm and make their way into the abdomen or the testes.

Whenever these fibers migrate, they leave a trail of damaged or compromised cells behind. The response to this damage varies by individual and invariably involves the immune system. Evidence for the response is found in the irritation and destruction of cells and the creation of scar tissue at the site of the injury. This process can be quite significant in the case of heavy asbestos exposure and can lead to major impairment of the lungs as a crust or plaque of fibrous scar tissue forms over the affected areas. Microscopic examination of this material has often found asbestos fibers entombed in the nodules and layers of tissue and has been used as prima fascia evidence for the asbestos connection as a cause for the injury.

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