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    Autoimmunity can result from the interplay between genetic background and effects of environmental and/or occupational exposure to hazardous materials. Several compounds, including silica dust, have been linked with systemic autoimmunity and systemic autoimmune diseases, based on epidemiological evidence. For asbestos, a strong link with systemic autoimmune diseases does not yet exist, however, several studies have documented features of autoimmunity following asbestos exposure. Even so, human studies are limited in their ability to identify and examine isolated exposures, making it difficult to demonstrate causation or to assess pathogenic mechanisms. Therefore, this systematic review examines the existing animal evidence regarding autoimmunity and exposure to silicates (silica and asbestos). PubMed and EMBASE were systematically searched for peer-reviewed studies examining systemic autoimmune disease-related outcomes after silicate exposure in rodents. Literature databases were searched up to September 2021 for studies written in English and where the full text was available. Search strings were established based on a PECO (Population, Exposure, Comparator, Outcome) format. After title, abstract, and full-text screening, thirty-four studies were identified for further analysis. Quality assessment through ToxR tool and qualitative analysis of the results was performed. Although there was significant heterogeneity in the included studies in terms of exposure protocol and genetic background of the rodent models used, it was noted that both genetic background and exposure to silicates [(crystalline) silica and asbestos] are highly relevant to the development of (sub-) clinical systemic autoimmune disease. Parallels were observed between the findings from the animal (this review) and human (epidemiological) studies, arguing that experimental animal models are valuable tools for examining exacerbation or development of autoimmune disease after silicate exposure. However, genetic background and synergism between exposures should be considered in future studies. © 2022. The Author(s).


    Lisa M F Janssen, Manosij Ghosh, Frauke Lemaire, K Michael Pollard, Peter H M Hoet. Exposure to silicates and systemic autoimmune-related outcomes in rodents: a systematic review. Particle and fibre toxicology. 2022 Jan 07;19(1):4

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    PMID: 34996462

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