Indiana University School of Medicine, Division of Toxicology, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, 635 Barnhill Drive, MS 1021, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202, USA.
Indium phosphide (IP), widely used in the microelectronics industry, was tested for potential carcinogenicity. Sixty male and 60 female Fischer 344 rats were exposed by aerosol for 6 h/day, 5 days/week, for 21 weeks (0.1 or 0.3 mg/m(3); stop exposure groups) or 105 weeks (0 or 0.03 mg/m(3) groups) with interim groups (10 animals/group/sex) evaluated at 3 months. After 3-month exposure, severe pulmonary inflammation with numerous infiltrating macrophages and alveolar proteinosis appeared. After 2 years, dose-dependent high incidences of alveolar/bronchiolar adenomas and carcinomas occurred in both sexes; four cases of squamous cell carcinomas appeared in males (0.3 mg/m(3)), and a variety of non-neoplastic lung lesions, including simple and atypical hyperplasia, chronic active inflammation, and squamous cyst, occurred in both sexes. To investigate whether inflammation-related oxidative stress functioned in the pathogenesis of IP-related pulmonary lesions, we stained lungs of control and high-dose animals immunohistochemically for four markers indicative of oxidative stress: inducible nitric oxide synthase (i-NOS), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), glutathione-S-transferase Pi (GST-Pi), and 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG). Paraffin-embedded samples from the 3-month and 2-year control and treated females were used. i-NOS and COX-2 were highly expressed in inflammatory foci after 3 months; at 2 years, all four markers were expressed in non-neoplastic and neoplastic lesions. Most i-NOS staining, mainly in macrophages, occurred in chronic inflammatory and atypical hyperplastic lesions. GST-Pi and 8-OHdG expression occurred in cells of carcinoma epithelium, atypical hyperplasia, and squamous cysts. These findings suggest that IP inhalation causes pulmonary inflammation associated with oxidative stress, resulting in progression to atypical hyperplasia and neoplasia.