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Image Number 55 - Lung, asbestosis, ferruginous bodies

One of the approximately 9 asbestos bodies that are seen in this field is highlighted at arrow 1. These asbestos bodies are commonly called ferruginous bodies (this term is also applied to any such configuration, regardless of the nature of the central fiber) because of their iron content. The actual asbestos fiber is not ordinarily visible in routine histological sections. However, one fiber does appear to be visible as a central longitudinal yellowish line in the particular example indicated by arrow #1. Note the shish-kebab appearance of the the asbestos body. The little segments along the shish-kebab are the glycoprotein/hemosiderin deposits made by the macrophages. The nucleus of a macrophage is seen at arrow #2. Note how the cytoplasm of this cell has unsuccessfully attempted to engulf at least one asbestos body. Such frustrated phagocytosis leads to the "spilling" of lysosomal enzymes into the interstitium of the lung. The term asbestosis refers to the fibrosis of the lungs which is often the result of asbestos inhalation.

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