Thursday, November 24, 2005

Periodic [Table] Musings

As the Dodger was having a dental implant screwed into the Dodger's head the other day, the thought came, why is titanium and titanium dioxide so inert, while iron and iron oxide so biologically active?

When the Dodger was in toxicology school, the story was that iron oxide was pretty benign. Siderosis was nothing to worry about. Has anyone ever looked at a case series of siderotics?

Think about a blast furnace. Fe2O3 + C = CO + Fe (metal). Substitute lung tissue for C. Iron oxide particles are burning up the lung tissue. "Oxidative stress" - a handwaving tox mechanism - metaphorically arises from the iron which is already there getting loose and donating oxygen to other structures.

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