Multiple roles of oxidants in the pathogenesis of asbestos-induced diseases

Arti Shukla, Mary Gulumian, Tom K. Hei, David Kamp, Qamar Rahman, Brooke T. Mossman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

220 Scopus citations


Exposure to asbestos causes cellular damage, leading to asbestosis, bronchogenic carcinoma, and mesothelioma in humans. The pathogenesis of asbestos-related diseases is complicated and still poorly understood. Studies on animal models and cell cultures have indicated that asbestos fibers generate reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS/RNS) and cause oxidation and/or nitrosylation of proteins and DNA. The ionic state of iron and its ability to be mobilized determine the oxidant-inducing potential of pathogenic iron-containing asbestos types. In addition to their capacity to damage macromolecules, oxidants play important roles in the initiation of numerous signal transduction pathways that are linked to apoptosis, inflammation, and proliferation. There is strong evidence supporting the premise that oxidants contribute to asbestos-induced lung injury; thus, strategies for reducing oxidant stress to pulmonary cells may attenuate the deleterious effects of asbestos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1117-1129
Number of pages13
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2003


  • Asbestos fibers
  • Cell injury
  • Fibrosis
  • Free radicals
  • Lung cancers
  • Mesothelioma
  • RNS
  • ROS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)

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