[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: By measuring the activity of telomerase in a silica-instilled rat lung, the study found a significant increase in telomerase activity compared to that of the control. Pneumoconiosis displays the characteristics of fibroblast-proliferation and accumulation of collagen, which finally causes the pathologic changes of irreversible and progressive fibrosis of the lung. On the basis of the hypothesis that cellular proliferation may trigger telomerase-activity, the experiment was carried out with telomerase-activation in silicosis. Silica-instilled rat lungs showed increased activity of telomerase, which was measured by TRAP (telomeric repeat amplification protocol) assay, at the time of the 1st, 5th and 8th week after intratracheal instillation of silica in vivo. However, no activity was shown in silica-co-cultured fibroblast in vitro. By summarizing these results, the activity of telomerase is thought to be a very sensitive marker for the evaluation of pathogenicity, showing cellular immortalization in an experimental silicosis model.