Fibrogenic and Other Biological Effects of Silica

  • Anthony C. Allison
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 210)


Crystalline silica, silicon dioxide (SiO2), has a simple chemical structure but potent biological effects. The structures of different crystalline and amorphous forms of silica and related molecules are reviewed by Heaney and Banfield (1993) and their biological effects are reviewed by Guthrie (1992). The commonest form is quartz, although other tetrahedral crystalline forms of silica (tridymite, crystobalite) have comparable effects. In contrast, stishovite is an octahedral form of crystalline silica, produced under conditions of high temperature and pressure. It is biologically inert, like titanium dioxide (rutile). Silica dust exposure during the mining and smelting of metal ores has long been known to produce pulmonary fibrosis (silicosis or phthisis) and to increase the incidence of tuberculosis (Collis, 1919). In some countries, such as the People’s Republic of China, large numbers of occupationally exposed workers are showing progressive impairment of lung function. It is desirable to clarify the underlying pathogenesis and, if possible, control it.


Mast Cell Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Pulmonary Fibrosis Breast Implant Crystalline Silica 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony C. Allison
    • 1
  1. 1.Dawa CorporationBelmontUSA

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