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Pediatr Dev Pathol. 2007 Mar-Apr;10(2):106-16.

Pulmonary neuroendocrine cells and neuroepithelial bodies in sudden infant death syndrome: potential markers of airway chemoreceptor dysfunction.

Author information

1
Division of Pathology, Department of Paediatric Laboratory Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, M5G1X8, Canada. ernest.cutz@sickkids.ca

Abstract

Pulmonary neuroendocrine cells (PNEC), including neuroepithelial bodies (NEB), are amine- and peptide (for example, bombesin)-producing cells that function as hypoxia/hypercapnia-sensitive chemoreceptors that could be involved in the pathophysiology of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). We assessed morphometrically the frequency and size of PNEC/NEB in lungs of infants who died of SIDS (n = 21) and compared them to an equal number PNEC/NEB in lungs of age-matched control infants who died of accidental death or homicide, with all cases obtained from the San Diego SIDS/SUDC Research Project database. As a marker for PNEC/NEB we used an antibody against chromogranin A (CGA), and computer-assisted morphometric analysis was employed to determine the relative frequency of PNEC per airway epithelial area (% immunostained area, %IMS), the size of NEB, the number of nuclei/NEB, and the size of the NEB cells. The lungs of SIDS infants showed significantly greater %IMS of airway epithelium (2.72 +/- 0.28 [standard error of the mean, SEM] versus 1.88 +/- 0.24; P < 0.05) and larger NEB (1557 +/- 153 microm(2) versus 1151 +/- 106 microm(2); P < 0.05) compared to control infants. The size of NEB cells was also significantly increased in SIDS cases compared to the controls (180 +/- 6.39 microm(2) versus 157 +/- 8.0 microm(2); P < 0.05), indicating the presence of hypertrophy in addition to hyperplasia. Our findings support previous studies demonstrating hyperplasia of PNEC/NEB in lungs of infants who died of SIDS. These changes could be secondary to chronic hypoxia and/or could be attributable to maturational delay. Morphometric assessment and/or measurement of the secretory products of these cells (for example, CGA, bombesin) could provide a potential biological marker for SIDS.

PMID:
17378691
DOI:
10.2350/06-06-0113.1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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