Airflow limitation in chronic bronchitis is associated with T-lymphocyte and macrophage infiltration of the bronchial mucosa

Antonino Di Stefano, Graziella Turato, Piero Maestrelli, Cristina E. Mapp, Maria Paola Ruggieri, Alberto Roggeri, Piera Boschetto, Leonardo M. Fabbri, Marina Saetta

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Abstract

To investigate whether the airway inflammatory process is different in patients with chronic bronchitis with airflow limitation and those with chronic bronchitis without airflow limitation, we obtained bronchial biopsies from 14 subjects with chronic sputum production and fixed airway obstruction, and from 10 subjects with chronic sputum production and normal FEV1, all with a history of cigarette smoking. Paraffin-embedded and frozen bronchial biopsies were examined by immunohistochemistry to identify the number of neutrophils (neutrophil-elastase), eosinophils (antieosinophil cationic protein [EG-2]), mast cells (tryptase), T-lymphocytes (CD3), T-lymphocyte subpopulations (CD4 and CD8), B-lymphocytes, and macrophages (CD68) in the submucosa. Subjects with chronic bronchitis with airflow limitation had a greater number of T-lymphocytes (p <0.01) and macrophages (p <0.05) than subjects with chronic bronchitis without airflow limitation, whereas the T- lymphocyte subpopulations and the numbers of B-lymphocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils, and mast cells were similar in the two groups. When all the subjects were considered together, the number of T-lymphocytes correlated inversely with the values of FEV1 (r = 0.46, p <0.02). In conclusion, airflow limitation in subjects with chronic bronchitis is associated with an increased number of T-lymphocytes and macrophages in the bronchial mucosa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-632
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Volume153
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1996

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

Cite this

Di Stefano, A., Turato, G., Maestrelli, P., Mapp, C. E., Ruggieri, M. P., Roggeri, A., Boschetto, P., Fabbri, L. M., & Saetta, M. (1996). Airflow limitation in chronic bronchitis is associated with T-lymphocyte and macrophage infiltration of the bronchial mucosa. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 153(2), 629-632.