Association between silicosis and autoimmune disease

Elizabeth Miriam Fireman, Einat Fireman Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: There is a well established association between silica inhalational exposure and autoimmune disease, particularly in the context of intense exposure. We will provide in this article an update overview of new sources of silica dust exposure, with evidences of mechanisms from human and animal studies for association between silica and autoimmune diseases, their early detection of silicosis and new options for treatment. RECENT FINDINGS: New industries such as jewelry polishing, denim jean production, fabrication of artificial stone benchtops, glass manufacturing and glassware has led to re-emergence of silicosis around the world. Silicosis with long term exposure to dust containing crystalline silica has been examined as a possible risk factor with respect to several autoimmune diseases as scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus, and some types of small vessel vasculitis with renal involvement. The dust may act to promote or accelerate disease development, requiring some other factors to break immune tolerance or initiate autoimmunity. Autophagy, apoptosis, or pyroptosis-related signaling pathways have also been suggested to contribute to the formation of those pathways with coordination of environmental co-exposure that can magnify autoimmune vulnerability. SUMMARY: Better understanding the mechanisms that involve silica -induced autoimmune diseases may contribute to early diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-50
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2024


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