58. Silicosis

Page created on December 3, 2018. Last updated on January 17, 2019 at 16:43

Organ: Lung + lymph nodes


The lung parenchyme shows many black foci of anthracosis.

In the hilar and mediastinal lymph nodes we can see anthracosis here too, but small greyish dots as well.

Diagnosis: Silicosis


  • Occupational disease, silica dust inhalation


Several occupations are associated with exposure to silica dust, like miners and stone cutters. When these people inhale the dust, it will be eaten by alveolar macrophages. However, because the silica dust is inorganic can’t the macrophages break it down. The macrophages respond by producing cytokines that recruit fibroblasts. Progressive fibrosis occurs.

In this preparation are silicotic nodules not macroscopically visible in the lung parenchyme, however histology of the lung would definitely show those nodules. However, we can see silicotic nodules as greyish dots inside the hilar and mediastinal lymph nodes.

Anthracosis in this preparation is also severe, because workers that are exposed to silica crystals are also exposed to high amounts of coal and carbon dust.

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