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Haematologica. 2000 Aug;85(8):855-64.

The lung as a target organ in patients with hematologic disorders.

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  • 1Department of Thoracic Medicine, Bellaria/Maggiore Hospital, Azienda USL Citt di Bologna, Bologna, Italy.


The lung is one of the organs most severely affected by complications during the course of hematologic disorders. In the last years an impressive amount of progress has been made in clarifying the pathogenesis of lung diseases, particularly those occurring in conditions of severe immunosuppression such as bone marrow transplantion, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or leukemia. Peculiar anatomical characteristics render the lung parenchyma highly susceptible to infections, but the clinical outcome is due not only to the injury induced by the pathogens but also to their interactions with inflammatory cells and particularly to the effects of a wide network of secreted cytokines. Polymorphonuclear cells, macrophages, lymphocytes and structural pulmonary cells (epithelial cells, interstitial cells) generate a variety of cytokines and growth factors which, in turn, may be responsible for the majority of the clinical effects in response to infections, such as those of Pneumocystis carinii and cytomegalovirus, but also to certain drugs or to radiation. The pathogenesis of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is still poorly understood, but animal models seem to demonstrate the involvement of a number of cytokines and growth factors, together with toxic effects induced by conditioning regimens.

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