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Sarcoidosis. 1992 Mar;9(1):29-34.

Tumour necrosis factor production by alveolar macrophages in pulmonary sarcoidosis and tuberculosis.

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Department of Medicine, University College and Middlesex School of Medicine, London.


Tumour Necrosis Factor alpha (TNF/Cachectin) is a cytokine produced mainly by macrophages, which has been shown to cause endothelial cell damage, pyrexia and weight loss, clinical features of tuberculosis, but not of sarcoidosis which is in many other respects a similar disease. 1,25 di-hydroxy Vitamin D and gamma interferon, factors which are present in vivo in both tuberculosis and sarcoidosis, enhance the ability of macrophages to release TNF in vitro. We have studied the ability of pulmonary alveolar macrophages (PAM) harvested by broncho-alveolar lavage (BAL) to produce TNF in response to stimulation with E. coli endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS). 25 patients undergoing bronchoscopy and BAL were studied: 9 with sarcoidosis, 7 with tuberculosis (TB) and 9 (non-neoplastic) disease controls. TNF was assayed by Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) in lavage fluid and cell culture supernatants. No TNF was detected in lavage fluid from any of the groups. PAMs from control patients released no detectable TNF spontaneously, but released 59 +/- 31 units after LPS stimulation. Cells from patients with sarcoidosis and tuberculosis released TNF spontaneously in vitro (TB 226 +/- 106 units; Sarcoidosis 293 +/- 176). TNF release by these cells was not increased further by addition of an optimal concentration of LPS. Thus, the pulmonary macrophages of patients with sarcoidosis and tuberculosis released significantly more TNF than those of controls.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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