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Pathology Photo of the Day -


Dumbbell-shaped Asbestos body

(Pigmented Crystal  ; Curious Body ; Asbestosis body ; Ferruginous body)


Dr Sampurna Roy MD             


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Asbestos bodies were first described by Marchand in 1906.

He called them peculiar "Pigmented Crystals".

German pathologist T. Fahr identified these peculiar crystals in the lung of an asbestos worker with pulmonary interstitial fibrosis.

W.E. Cooke described these bodies as "Curious Bodies".

In 1929 Stewart and Haddow introduced the term "Asbestosis bodies".

The term asbestosis bodies was changed to asbestos body when it was noted that these bodies were present in the lungs of workers who did not have asbestosis.

The term "Ferruginous body" is used when the exact nature of the fibrous core is not known.

Figures A and B  - Several "dumbbell shaped" Asbestos bodies are present within a terminal bronchiole.

These are asbestos fibrils and are coated with protein and iron containing material. Macrophages are present round the bodies.

There is dense fibrous tissue formation round the bronchiole.

The gap between epithelium and fibrous tissue has been produced by shrinkage during tissue processing.

In Figure A- The Dumbbell shaped asbestos bodies appear as beaded, golden brown structures in hematoxylin and eosin stained section.

In Figure B - Asbestos fibrils are enclosed in dense fibrous tissue.

Some have been dislodged during section cutting, leaving empty lacunae.

The pleura is usually severely affected in asbestosis and the disease predisposes to the development not only of bronchial carcinoma but also of pleural mesothelioma.


Further reading:

Visit: Pathology of Asbestos Pneumoconiosis

Visit: Mesothelioma Online

Review: Ferruginous Bodies: Implications in the Mechanism of Fiber and Particle Toxicity

Asbestos-induced pleural disease

Asbestos bodies and nonasbestos ferruginous bodies

Asbestos bodies and mesothelioma

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Dr  Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)








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