Abnormal cilia in the bronchial mucosa
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Atypical cilia in the bronchial mucosa of non-smoking women and in guinea-pig lungs were studied by the electron microscope. In human cases, numerous compound cilia were observed in the main bronchi. The largest one contained about 40 axial filament complexes in a ciliary shaft. Occasionally, atypical basal bodies were also seen.
In the experimental model in guinea-pigs, 50% oxygen at one atmospheric pressure damaged the bronchial surface and resulted in degeneration and reduction of cilia and pellicular structures. The injury was not sufficiently severe to initiate adaptation and reparative mechanisms in the bronchial mucosa, and rapid renewal of the surface structures was found.
The human cases were associated with bronchogenic carcinoma but the experimental model suggested that atypical cilia were not always related to pulmonary carcinogenesis.
Key wordsCompound cilia Axial filament complex Bronchitis Ultrastructure
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