Silicate pneumoconiosis in pigs: Optical and scanning electron microscopical investigations with X-ray microanalysis

F. Roperto, S. Damiano, G. De Vico, D. Galati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Four cases of silicate pneumoconiosis are described in pigs raised near several chalk quarries and two cement works. The pulmonary changes were characterized by thickened alveolar septa, resulting in distorted airspaces, and small foci of initial fibrosis. In the bronchiolar and alveolar sites, as in the interstitium, free and intracytoplasmic dust was detected. An energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis coupled with a scanning electron microscope revealed that this dust was composed mainly of silicon, calcium, potassium, sulphur, aluminium and iron. In lung-associated lymph nodes, severe lymphoid cell depletion and dilatation of peritrabecular and subcapsular sinuses were constant findings. The inorganic material found in the lymph nodes contained the elements listed above. Air samples from the same geographical area revealed particulate pollutants, the qualitative features of which were similar to those found in lung and lymph nodal tissue. It is concluded that domestic animals raised in polluted environmental conditions represent an important biological source from which helpful data may be obtained for assessing risks to human health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-236
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Comparative Pathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this