Alveolar macrophages in pulmonary lavage harvested with and without previous lung massage
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The morphology, phagocytosis and metabolic activity of alveolar macrophages harvested by two lung-washing techniques, with and without lung massage, were compared. The number of cells in each lung lavage was counted. Lung tissue was examined histologically after repeated lavages and massages.
There was a higher proportion of larger cells among the cells harvested without massage. The number of cells in the first wash after massage was 7.1±2.25 (mean ±standard deviation) compared to 1.9±0.4 without massage. The number of phagocytically active cells was significantly higher in lavages without massage than in lavages after lung massage (P<0.002). However, the number of engulfed bacteria per cell was similar in both groups. Proteosynthesis was very intensive in both cell groups, judging by the high uptake of 14C-labelled l-leucine. There was no significant difference in the uptake of the RNA precursor, 14C uracil. However, the uptake of 14C-uridin was significantly higher in alveolar macrophages harvested after lung massage (P<0.001), as was the activity of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (P<0.001). Light microscopy revealed no substantial damage of lung tissue after lavage and/or massage.
In view of the data obtained it is suggested that the increased release of alveolar macrophages following massage in an intact organism is due to younger, immature forms, which are not yet phagocytically active. They differ from cells recovered without massage in their very high biosynthetic activity. The findings also suggest that maturation of alveolar macrophages takes place within the lung.
Key wordsLung lavage Lung massage Alveolar macrophages Functional activity Metabolic activity
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