Alveolar accumulation of fibronectin and hyaluronan precedes bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis in the rat

J Hernnas, O Nettelbladt, Leif Bjermer, B Sarnstrand, A Malmstrom, R Hallgren

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The development of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis in rats was studied over a period of 30 days after an intratracheal instillation of bleomycin. Fibronectin was visualized in histological sections and quantified in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and related to simultaneous measurements of hyaluronan, collagen and albumin in BALF and/or lung tissue extracts. An increase in BALF fibronectin levels was noted after 3 days and the peak value a sixty fold increase was noted at day 7. Thereafter, the fibronectin levels declined and reached control values on day 21. A pronounced, patchily distributed staining for fibronectin appeared in the injured alveolar tissue parallel to the increased lavage fluid fibronectin levels on days 3-7. A fainter, streakily distributed fibronectin staining remained within the alveolar walls in areas with proliferating fibroblasts on days 14-30. Albumin in BALF increased to a peak level, 20 times control values, after 3 days and then rapidly declined. Thus, the ratio of fibronectin to albumin increased to a peak value of 43 times control values on day 7, indicating that plasma leakage cannot be the only source of the observed increase in lavage fibronectin. Lung tissue hydroxyproline increased between days 7 and 30, whereas extractable hyaluronan in lung tissue and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid peaked on days 3-7 and then gradually declined towards normal values on days 21-30. These data demonstrate that fibronectin accumulates in the alveolar tissue during the early inflammatory phase of the bleomycin-induced lung injury, parallelling hyaluronan accumulation and preceding the development of pulmonary fibrosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-410
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1992

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Respiratory Medicine and Allergy


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