Occupational Asthma Reference

De Vuyst P, Dumortier P, Schandene L, Estenne M, Verhest A, Yernault JC, Sarcoidlike lung granulomatosis induced by aluminum dusts, Am Rev Respir Dis, 1987;135:493-497,


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Paul de Vuyst, Erasme Hospital, Brussels Paul de Vuyst

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Interstitial lung disease developed in a 32-yr-old chemist after working 8 yr in a dusty atmosphere containing aluminum powders. Bronchoalveolar lavage disclosed a helper T-lymphocyte alveolitis, and transbronchial lung biopsies showed sarcoidlike epithelioid granulomas. These granulomas contained dust identified by mineralogic analyses as consisting mainly of aluminum particles. Nasal and liver biopsies and a Kveim test did not reveal extrapulmonary granulomatous infiltration. An extensive immunologic work-up showed none of the abnormalities classically seen in sarcoidosis, but peripheral blood lymphocytes exhibited blastic transformation in the presence of soluble aluminum compounds. About 1 yr after cessation of exposure, a chest radiograph and lung function tests remained essentially unchanged, but signs of alveolitis disappeared. This observation suggests that aluminum may cause granulomatous lung disease accompanied by a helper T-lymphocyte alveolitis, similar to that of berylliosis and sarcoidosis. Further observations would be necessary to show if this constitutes an early stage of aluminum-induced fibrosis (aluminum lung).

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