Analysis of Trace Elements in Bronchoalveolar Lavage of Patients with Diffuse Lung Diseases

  • E. Bargagli
  • F. Monaci
  • N. Bianchi
  • C. Bucci
  • P. Rottoli


Airborne trace elements are implicated in the etio-pathogenesis of a large number of pulmonary diseases. The aim of this study was to evaluate the reliability and effectiveness of direct determination of Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, V, and Zn concentrations in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) samples from patients with sarcoidosis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and Langerhans cell histiocytosis and healthy (smoking and non-smoking) controls. A total of 44 individuals were recruited among sarcoidosis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and Langerhans cell histiocytosis patients and healthy (smoking and non-smoking) controls. Average Mn concentrations in BAL from patients were 45% lower than in controls (p < 0.01) and remarkable decreases in average concentrations of Cr, Ni and Zn were also found in BAL from patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and Langerhans cell histiocytosis. As these diseases are characterized by the enhanced activation of certain immunomodulatory cells and by generation of free radicals, the depressed Mn, Zn, Cr and Ni concentrations in BAL from patients may be due to oxidative stress. These preliminary results indicate that assessment of the elemental composition of BAL is a promising approach to study the pathogenesis of diffuse lung diseases and Langerhans cell histiocytosis.


Trace elements Diffuse lung diseases Bronchoalveolar lavage Langerhans cell histiocytosis 



bronchoalveolar lavage




idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis


diffuse lung diseases


Langerhans cell histiocytosis



Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Bargagli
    • 1
    • 3
  • F. Monaci
    • 2
  • N. Bianchi
    • 2
  • C. Bucci
    • 2
  • P. Rottoli
    • 1
  1. 1.Respiratory Diseases Section, Department of Clinical Medicine and Immunological SciencesUniversity of SienaSienaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Environmental BiologyUniversity of SienaSienaItaly
  3. 3.Respiratory Diseases Section, Department of Clinical Medicine and Immunological SciencesLe Scotte HospitalSienaItaly

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