Neuropeptides are considered a new class of neurotransmitters, several of which interact with the immune system as well as the macrophagic activity. Among these, neurotensin (NT) enhances the phagocitic response of macrophages and is the only neuropeptide that can enhance the cytolytic effects of activated macrophages. In this way, it may play a role as an inflammatory mediator. In order to investigate the possible relationship between NT and the defence mechanisms of the lung, we started to localize the presence of NT in pulmonary adenomatoid cystic malformation (CCAM). This series consists of 6 children affected by CCAM. In every case, at operation, we obtained specimens of both normal and pathological lung. Tissue sections from the pathological lung showed a significant increase of NT-like immunoreactivity in respect to sections of normal lung. NT influences and activates the macrophages, thus suggesting that it could represent a defence mechanism in children's lung activated in some malformative conditions. Finally, the increasing evidence of NT immunoreactivity in CCAM could explicate an in utero infectious pathogenesis of this malformation.
- Congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation
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