Increased alveolar plasminogen activator in early asbestosis.

Research paper by A A Cantin, C C Allard, R R Bégin

Indexed on: 01 Mar '89Published on: 01 Mar '89Published in: The American review of respiratory disease


Alveolar macrophage-derived plasminogen activator (PA) activity is decreased in some chronic interstitial lung diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and sarcoidosis but increased in experimental models of acute alveolitis. Although asbestos fibers can stimulate alveolar macrophages (AM) to release PA in vitro, the effect of chronic asbestos exposure of the lower respiratory tract on lung PA activity remains unknown. The present study was designed to evaluate PA activity of alveolar macrophages and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid in asbestos-exposed sheep and asbestos workers. Forty-three sheep were exposed to either 100 mg UICC chrysotile B asbestos in 100 ml phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) or to 100 ml PBS by tracheal infusion every 2 wk for 18 months. At Month 18, chest roentgenograms were analyzed and alveolar macrophage and extracellular fluid PA activity were measured in samples obtained by BAL. Alveolar macrophage PA activity was increased in the asbestos-exposed sheep compared to control sheep (87.2 +/- 17.3 versus 41.1 +/- 7.2 U/10(5) AM-24 h, p less than 0.05) as was the BAL fluid PA activity (674.9 +/- 168.4 versus 81.3 +/- 19.7 U/mg alb-24 h, p less than 0.01). Among the asbestos-exposed sheep, 10 had normal chest roentgenograms (Group SA) and 15 had irregular interstitial opacities (Group SB). Strikingly, whereas Group SA did not differ from the control group in BAL cellularity or PA activity, Group SB had marked increases in alveolar macrophages (p less than 0.005), AM PA activity (p less than 0.02), and BAL PA activity (p less than 0.001) compared to the control group.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)