Asbestos Bodies Burden in the Autopsy Lung Tissue from General Thai Population

Pimpin Incharoen1, *, Tuanseeta Hama1, Lalida Arsa1, Kaettipong Kamprerasart1, Sompong Wongwichai1, Somchai Bovornkitti2
1 Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand
2 The Academy of Science, The Royal Society of Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand

© 2019 Incharoen et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand; Email:



Chrysotile asbestos has been used in Thailand for over 30 years mainly in asbestos-cement wall and roof tiles. In non-exposed subject, asbestos fiber can contaminate in ambient indoor and outdoor environments.


The aim of the present study is to evaluate the current prevalence and volume of AB load in general Thai population.


Lung tissues were obtained from 200 autopsy cases. Asbestos Bodies (AB) were identified with light microscopy using the tissue digestion and membrane filtration method. Results are reported as AB/g wet lung tissue.


AB was identified in 97(48.5%) out of 200 cases. The AB level ranged from 0.19-14.4 AB/g wet lung. Most of the positive cases (99%) have less than 10 AB/g wet lung. Only one case exhibited a high value at 14.4 AB/g wet lung. Age, gender, occupation and hometown were found to have no effect on AB burden in autopsy lung tissue from this study.


The prevalence of AB in autopsy lung tissue from general Thai population is 48.5% and the AB level ranges from 0-14.4 AB/g wet lung in consistent with non-occupational asbestos exposure level regarding several reference reports.

Keywords: Asbestos bodies, Autopsy lung, Tissue digestion, Membrane filtration, Asbestos-cement wall, Amphibole asbestos, Respiratory diseases.