Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Impact of Ambient Atmospheric Mineral-Dust Particles on the Calcification of Lungs

Version 1 : Received: 7 December 2020 / Approved: 8 December 2020 / Online: 8 December 2020 (17:15:33 CET)

How to cite: Jablonska, M.; Janeczek, J.; Smieja-Król, B. The Impact of Ambient Atmospheric Mineral-Dust Particles on the Calcification of Lungs. Preprints 2020, 2020120207 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202012.0207.v1). Jablonska, M.; Janeczek, J.; Smieja-Król, B. The Impact of Ambient Atmospheric Mineral-Dust Particles on the Calcification of Lungs. Preprints 2020, 2020120207 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202012.0207.v1).

Abstract

For the first time, it is shown that inhaled ambient air-dust particles settled in the human lower respiratory tract induce lung calcification. Chemical- and mineral compositions of pulmonary calcium precipitates in the lung right lower-lobe (RLL) tissues of 12 individuals who lived in Upper Silesia Conurbation in Poland and who had died from causes not related to lung disorder were determined by transmission- and scanning electron microscopy. Whereas calcium salts in lungs are usually reported as phosphates, calcium salts precipitated in RLL are almost exclusively carbonates, i.e. Mg-calcite and calcite. These constitute 37% of 1652 mineral particles examined. Mg-calcite predominates in the submicron size range with the MgCO3 content up to 50 mol%. Magnesium plays a significant role in the lung mineralization, a fact so far overlooked. The calcium phosphate (hydroxyapatite) content in RLL is negligible. The predominance of carbonates is explained by increased CO2 fugacity in RLL. Carbonates enveloped inhaled mineral-dust particles, including uranium-bearing oxides, quartz, aluminosilicates, and metal sulfides. Three possible pathways for the carbonates precipitation on the dust particles are postulated: (1) precipitation of amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC) followed by its transformation to calcite; (2) precipitation of Mg-ACC followed by its transformation to Mg-calcite; (3) precipitation of Mg-free ACC causing a localized relative enrichment in Mg ions and subsequent heterogeneous nucleation and crystal growth of Mg-calcite. The actual number of inhaled dust particles may be significantly greater than observed because of the masking effect of the carbonate coatings. There is no simple correlation between smoking habit and lung calcification.

Subject Areas

air pollution; lung mineralization; magnesian calcite; calcite; amorphous calcium carbonate

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