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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 1991 Oct;5(4):351-62.

Cellular changes in the lungs of adrenalectomized rats following left pneumonectomy.

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  • 1Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, College of Medicine, Pennsylvania State University, Hershey 17033.

Abstract

The time course and nature of the cellular response to left pneumonectomy, with or without prior adrenalectomy, were evaluated in the right lungs of male Sprague-Dawley rats using morphometric techniques. Animals were studied at days 2, 5, and 14 following pneumonectomy, intervals prior to, during the course of, and following significant compensatory changes in right lung mass. The postoperative increase in right lung mass and volume in pneumonectomized animals involved minimal changes in the ratios of most tissue components, when compared to the lungs of sham-operated controls. A transient disproportionate increase in type II cell volume and epithelial thickness was evident on day 14. Postpneumonectomy changes in the type II epithelium were accentuated in the lungs of adrenalectomized-pneumonectomized animals. Adrenalectomy 5 days prior to pneumonectomy resulted in a substantial increase in the volume of all right lung tissue components, associated with thickening of the alveolar wall and with increases in the volume of both cellular and noncellular interstitium. Effects of adrenalectomy on the endothelium also were evident. In both adrenal-intact and adrenalectomized animals, pneumonectomy increased alveolar number by day 14 but had no effect on the volume of individual alveoli. These results confirm a coordinated pattern of compensatory growth following pneumonectomy in the adrenal-intact rat. The data further suggest that in adrenalectomized animals compensatory lung growth is more poorly synchronized, with pronounced postoperative elevations in volume of the interstitial and type II epithelial compartments leading to increased thickness of the alveolar wall. Adrenal hormones thus appear to be required for coordination and control of compensatory lung growth and for rapid restoration of normal tissue structure.

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