It is common knowledge that exposure to asbestos causes asbestos-related diseases, such as asbestosis, lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma, not only in people who have had long-term contact with asbestos in their work environment but also in residents living near factories that handle asbestos. Since the summer of 2005, these revelations turned into a large medical problem and caused and social unrest. We have focused on the immunological effects of both asbestos and silica on the human immune system. In this brief review, we introduce immunological alterations found in patients with malignant mesothelioma and describe the experimental background in which these were found. Analyzing the immunological effects of asbestos may improve our understanding of the biological effects of asbestos.
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