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J Histochem Cytochem. 2009 Jul;57(7):643-8. doi: 10.1369/jhc.2009.953067. Epub 2009 Mar 16.

Intralobular pulmonary lymphatic distribution in normal human lung using D2-40 antipodoplanin immunostaining.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Hôpital Avicenne, Bobigny, France.


It has been assumed for a long time that except for limited areas close to respiratory bronchioles or their satellite arteries, there is no evidence of lymphatic vessels deep in the pulmonary lobule. An immunohistochemical study using the D2-40 monoclonal antibody was performed on normal pulmonary samples obtained from surgical specimens, with particular attention to the intralobular distribution of lymphatic vessels. This study demonstrated the presence of lymphatics not only in the connective tissue surrounding the respiratory bronchioles but also associated with intralobular arterioles and/or small veins even less than 50 mum in diameter. A few interlobular lymphatic vessels with a diameter ranging from 10 mum to 20 mum were also observed further away, in interalveolar walls. In conclusion, this study, using the D2-40 monoclonal antibody, demonstrated the presence of small lymphatic channels within the normal human pulmonary lobules, emerging from interalveolar interstitium, and around small blood vessels constituting the paraalveolar lymphatics. This thin intralobular lymphatic network may play a key pathophysiological role in a wide variety of alveolar and interstitial lung diseases and requires further investigation.

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