EXPERIMENTAL MODELS IN THE INVESTIGATION OF THE IMPACTS OF THE MINERALS ON HUMAN HEALTH
To uncover their effects, some studies based on the epidemiological, clinical, and biochemical data has already been done. However, even for the most frequently studied minerals, the underlying mechanisms which cause the disease could not be elaborated beyond the commonly blamed pathogenetic mechanisms. The structures of minerals, the true microenvironment on which the most of the biologically important interactions take place should be the subject of new interdisciplinary research projects which might provide new perspectives into the understanding of hazards of minerals.
The underlyingmechanisms of the diseases can only be studied by using standardized experimental models. Animal models are considered the best way to establish a credible source of data in the laboratory. These models allow researchers to plan and control the ways and amounts of the exposure. At the end of an experiment, tissues can easily be obtained, processed, and stored for histopathological and biochemical studies. Despite some drawbacks, such as the constitutional differences among the animal species and limitations preventing a verbatim simulation of the real environmental exposure, animal models are still the mainstream tool in this area.
The experimental models should be individualized for every mineral to be studied. There are already good examples of animal models,such as the ones demonstrating asbestosis and mesothelioma relationship. In these models, intratracheal injection, intraperitoneal inoculation, and the whole body exposure are being used as the standard ways to administer the mineral to the body. The effects of erionite can also be studied by using one of the established models.
We summarized the experimental models used for determining the effects of minerals on the organisms, their advantages and disadvantages as well as the potentially new tools which can be used in the future.