Functional Heterogeneity of Alveolar Macrophages

  • Bruce S. Zwilling
  • Laura B. Campolito
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 134)


The alveolar macrophage is the first line of defense against inhaled toxicants, infectious organisms and inert dusts. While much attention has been paid to the mechanisms of activation of peritoneal macrophages, little information is available concerning those of the alveolar macrophage. Alveolar macrophages have been reported to differ from peritoneal macrophages in many respects, including their response to lymphokines (1,2). It has been reported that lower respiratory tract infections can activate alveolar macrophages (3), and that intratracheal injection of Mycobacterium bovis (strain BCG) can induce tumor cell destruction by macrophages isolated from the lung (4). It is not clear, however, whether functionally distinct states of macrophage activation, analogous to those identified for murine peritoneal macrophages, can occur in the lung. We therefore have sought to define functional characteristics of alveolar macrophages after immunization of hamsters with BCG and to correlate these characteristics with the state of activation. Our results indicate that macrophages derived from the lung of hamsters show alterations in functional capacity which may indicate different states of activation.


Alveolar Macrophage Peritoneal Macrophage Functional Heterogeneity Mycobacterium Bovis Phagocytic Capacity 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce S. Zwilling
    • 1
  • Laura B. Campolito
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology, College of Biological Sciences, and Comprehensive Cancer CenterThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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