Bleomycin-induced lung injury in baboons: Alteration of cells and immunoglobulins recoverable by bronchoalveolar lavage

Research paper by B. McCullough, Sandra Schneider, N. D. Greene, W. G. Johanson

Indexed on: 01 Dec '78Published on: 01 Dec '78Published in: Lung


Bleomycin-induced lung injury in baboons was investigated by serial bronchoalveolar lavage. Nine juvenile baboons (Papio cynocephalus) were injected intramuscularly with bleomycin sulfate, 1. 5 U/kg body wt., twice weekly for 22 consecutive weeks. Six baboons of similar age served as untreated controls. During the treatment period, the amounts of immunoglobulin G and A and the numbers of eosinophils recovered by bronchoalveolar lavage were increased significantly. Fourteen of the 24 samples from treated animals had ratios of immunoglobulin G or A to albumin which were greater than any corresponding control ratio. After bleomycin was stopped, immunoglobulins G and A and eosinophils returned to control levels. However, during the recovery period lymphocytes were increased significantly in lavage fluids of treated animals for 10 weeks. Immunofluorescence of lung tissue biopsies from treated animals failed to detect immunoglobulins or complement deposition. Similarly, no binding of immunoglobulins present in lavage fluids to normal baboon lung was demonstrated by immunofluorescence. In the presence of collagen peptipes, alveolar macrophages from treated animals migrated shorter distances than did macrophages of control animals. Peripheral blood cells and immunoglobulins were unaffected by bleomycin treatment. These studies suggest that serial bronchoalveolar lavage may aid in the sequential evaluation of patients with diffuse interstitial pulmonary fibrosis, especially when it develops in conjunction with drug therapy.

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