Objectives: Determine whether surface dust grab samples taken from a large military base in Iraq are toxic and respirable.
Methods: X-ray diffraction for mineral content, x-ray fluorescence for elemental content, in vivo mouse dust challenges for assessment of histological changes, bronchoalveolar lavage for cytokines, polarizing light microscopy for crystals in lung tissue, and Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting for cell surface and intracellular markers were utilized.
Results: Camp Victory, Iraq dust taken during wartime contains respirable particles 2.5 microns in size, constituting particulate matter air pollution. Dust particles are angular and have sharp edges. Trace metals (including titanium) calcium and silicon are present. Mice with airway instillation of dust have polarizable crystals in lung and septate inflammation. Regulatory T cells (CD4+CD25+FOXP3+) are decreased in thymus and spleen. Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is upregulated in bronchoalveolar lavage.
Conclusions: Respirable Iraq dust leads to lung inflammation in mice similar to that seen in patients with polarizable crystals, which seem to be titanium.