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Morphometric examination of native lungs in human lung allograft recipients

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Wiebe BM, Burton CM, Milman N, Iversen M, Andersen CB. Morphometric examination of native lungs in human lung allograft recipients. APMIS 2006;114:795–804.

The aim of the study was to estimate the degree of lung damage in patients with α1-antitrypsin (α1AT) deficiency, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cystic fibrosis (CF) at the time of lung transplantation. Using unbiased stereological methods, lung-, bronchial- and vessel-volume, capillary length, and alveolar surface area and densities were estimated in recipient lungs from 21 consecutive patients with pre-transplant diagnoses including COPD (n=7), α1AT deficiency (n=6) and CF (n=8). Six unused adult donor lungs served as controls. Information relating to patient demography and pre-transplant lung function was obtained by retrospective chart review. Disease groups differed significantly with respect to demographics and pre-transplant lung function. Total lung volume was similar in all groups. Bronchial volume was significantly larger in CF patients compared to the control group (p<0.0001) and to the other two diagnostic groups: α1AT deficiency (p=0.0001) and COPD (p<0.0001). Alveolar surface density and capillary length density were significantly lower in patients with α1AT deficiency and COPD compared to controls (p<0.0001, respectively) and to patients with CF (p<0.0002, respectively). There were no correlations between clinical lung function and morphometric measurements. We conclude that unbiased microscopic stereological morphometry is an evolving science with the potential to elucidate pulmonary disease pathogenesis.

Keywords: Morphometry; alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; cystic fibrosis; lung; lung transplantation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Pathology, Herlev Hospital, 2: Division of Lung Transplantation, The Heart Centre, Department of Medicine B, and 3: Department of Pathology, Rigshospitalet, University Hospital of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Publication date: 2006-11-01

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