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Am J Physiol. 1999 Jul;277(1 Pt 1):L97-105.

Effects of depletion of neutrophils or macrophages on development of cigarette smoke-induced emphysema.

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  • 1Respiratory Division, Department of Medicine, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6H 3Z6.


The aim of this study was to ascertain the putative roles of neutrophils or macrophages in the pathogenesis of cigarette smoking-induced emphysema on the basis of effects of anti-neutrophil (anti-PMN) antibody or anti-monocyte/macrophage (anti-MoMac) antibody on the development of emphysema in cigarette smoke-exposed rats. Rats were treated with rabbit anti-PMN or anti-MoMac antibody and exposed 7 days/wk for 2 mo to cigarette smoke inhalation; rats treated with nonimmunized rabbit IgG (control antibody) and exposed to cigarette smoke or normal room air served as controls. Antibody treatments began 24 h before the start of smoke or air exposure and was continued with 1 treatment/wk. Total and differential cell counts in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and collagenase-dissociated lung and determinations of the elastinolytic activity of lung neutrophils or macrophages in [(3)H]elastin-coated wells indicated specific suppression of neutrophil accumulation and neutrophil-related elastinolytic burden in the lungs of the anti-PMN antibody-treated smoke-exposed rats, in contrast to specific suppression of macrophage accumulation and macrophage-related elastinolytic burden in the lungs of the anti-MoMac antibody-treated smoke-exposed rats. Cigarette smoke exposure-induced lung elastin breakdown (quantitated by immunologic assay of levels of elastin-derived peptides and desmosine in lavage fluid) and emphysema in the lungs (based on morphometric analysis of alveolar mean linear intercepts and alveolar tissue density in fixed lungs) were not prevented in the lungs of anti-PMN antibody-treated smoke-exposed rats but was clearly prevented in lungs of the anti-MoMac antibody-treated smoke-exposed rats. These findings implicate macrophages rather than neutrophils as the critical pathogenic factor in cigarette smoke-induced emphysema.

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