Indexed on: 14 Dec '11Published on: 14 Dec '11Published in: Pediatric and Developmental Pathology
The D2-40 antigen is a glycosylated sialomucin that is strongly expressed by lymphatic endothelial cells. Recently we observed the expression of D2-40 on the luminal surface of pulmonary airspaces in lung sections. The aim of the study was to assess the expression of D2-40 antigen in normal lung development and in various pathologic conditions in which abnormal alveolar infiltrates were present. Formalin-fixed lung tissue was selected from 42 fetal/neonatal autopsy cases ranging in gestational age from 12 to 41 weeks and from 10 adult lungs. In the fetal/neonatal group, 22 cases were histologically normal, whereas 20 were abnormal (including cases of pneumonia, alveolar hemorrhage, meconium aspiration, pulmonary hypoplasia, and pulmonary interstitial emphysema). In the adult group, 5 cases were histologically normal and 5 had pneumonia. Immunohistochemical staining was performed on all cases using antibody to D2-40. All cases of normal fetal/neonatal lung and normal adult lung showed diffuse strong expression of D2-40 on the luminal surface of the alveolar lining cells. D2-40 expression was also noted on the bronchiolar lining cells of normal fetal/neonatal lung. In all cases in which there was an abnormal infiltrate or foreign material within the airspaces, expression of D2-40 was lost in the alveolar lining. The production of the D2-40 antigen in the alveolar lining occurs as early as 12 weeks gestation and continues to be present throughout all other stages of lung development, as well as in adult lung. These results suggest that D2-40 may have a cell membrane protective function.