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Clin Exp Immunol. 2001 Dec;126(3):545-50.

Characterization of CD44 expressed on alveolar macrophages in patients with diffuse panbronchiolitis.

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Third Department of Internal Medicine, Miyazaki Medical College, Miyazaki, Japan.


Interleukin (IL)-8 may play an important role in neutrophil infiltration in the airways of patients with diffuse panbronchiolitis (DPB). Furthermore, alveolar macrophages could produce IL-8 subsequent to CD44-hyaluronic acid (HA) interaction. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the contribution of CD44 expressed on alveolar macrophages to the pathogenesis of DPB. We examined the concentration of soluble CD44 (sCD44) in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and CD44 expression on macrophages in BALF from patients with DPB before and after low-dose, long-term macrolide therapy. We also assessed the HA-binding ability of alveolar macrophages as a functional analysis of the CD44 molecule. The sCD44 concentration in BALF was significantly lower in patients with DPB than in healthy volunteers. Percentages of alveolar macrophages expressing low CD44 (CD44 low(+)) and HA-nonbinding alveolar macrophages were higher in patients with DPB compared with healthy volunteers. Furthermore, macrolide therapy normalized CD44 expression and HA-binding ability of macrophages in BALF from DPB patients. Our findings suggest that alveolar macrophage dysfunction could result from abnormalities of CD44 expression in patients with DPB and that these events could contribute to the pathogenesis of DPB.

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