Simultaneous determination of pulmonary and intestinal permeability in patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis
- Cite this article as:
- Huglo, D., De Botton, S., Canva-Delcambre, V. et al. Eur J Nucl Med (2001) 28: 1505. doi:10.1007/s002590100589
The aim of this prospective study was to assess pulmonary and intestinal permeability (PP and IP, respectively) in patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis (ALC). Thirty-five non-smoking patients with biopsy-proven ALC were included (mean grade B in Child's classification). None had a previous history of pulmonary disease and all had a normal chest radiograph and computed tomography scan. Lung function tests and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) were also performed. The PP was studied by measuring the lung to blood clearance of inhaled 99mTc-DTPA aerosol. Clearance half-time (T1/2, in minutes) and residual activity (RA in %) were obtained from exponential fitting of the right pulmonary clearance curve. IP was concurrently evaluated by measuring the urinary recovery of ingested 51Cr-EDTA, according to Bjarnason's technique and expressed as a percentage of the total oral dose. Results were compared with those obtained in non-smoking healthy control subjects. PP was significantly (P<0.05) increased in patients with ALC (T1/2 65.9±32.2 min, RA 87.1%±6.7%) versus control subjects (T1/2 85.2±20.8 min, RA 92.8%±2.6%). IP was not significantly different between patients and controls (2.39%±2.20% vs 1.74%±0.81%). A significant correlation (P<0.05) was found between PP and total cell number in BAL and total lymphocyte number in BAL. In conclusion, in patients with ALC, PP is increased without any association with IP, the severity of cirrhosis according to Child's classification or the results of pulmonary function tests. These findings may reflect primary involvement of the alveolar epithelium. In patients with ALC, PP is correlated with total cell number and total lymphocyte number. Increased PP may be due to activated cytotoxic lymphocytes and/or abnormal macrophage activity.