Effects of IL-2 treatment on different compartments of the irradiated rat lung analysed by bronchoalveolar lavage and lung tissue morphology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In recent years, interleukin-2 (IL-2) has been used as an immunomodulatory agent in the treatment of various malignant tumours. However, this treatment has been limited by serious side-effects, including toxic reactions in the lung. The effects of IL-2 treatment on inflammatory cell populations in the normal and irradiated rat lung were investigated in this study. IL-2 was continuously administered as a subcutaneous infusion over a 6 week study period. Irradiation was given in a single dose (25 Gy) the day after starting IL-2 treatment. Evaluation with bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) analysis and lung tissue morphology was made 6 weeks after irradiation. In nonirradiated rats, IL-2 treatment induced significant increases in the total number of inflammatory cells in the perivascular, interstitial and peribronchial tissues as well as in the alveolar space. These increases were not reflected in BALF; on the contrary, a significant decrease of the total numbers of inflammatory cells was found in BALF. Irradiation alone caused a more pronounced inflammatory response was significant increases of all inflammatory cells in all lung compartments, which was also reflected in BALF. Concomitant treatment with IL-2 and irradiation induced an enhanced accumulation of inflammatory cells in the perivascular and peribronchial tissues compared with irradiation alone. Thus, both irradiation and IL-2 treatment induce inflammatory reactions in the lung, but there were signs of synergistic effects seen in this study. Furthermore, the results also emphasize the difficulties in making sophisticated conclusions from BALF analyses alone.


  • C Yi-Qing
  • Leif Bjermer
  • O Frojd
  • O Nettelbladt
  • A Karlsson-Parra
  • R Henriksson
External organisations
  • External Organization - Unknown
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Respiratory Medicine and Allergy


  • interleukins, Bronchoalveolar lavage, interleukin-2, irradiation, rat
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1872-1878
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes