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Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2011 May;38(5):911-9. doi: 10.1007/s00259-010-1715-7. Epub 2011 Feb 10.

Quantification of neutrophil migration into the lungs of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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Department of Respiratory Medicine, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, UK.



To quantify neutrophil migration into the lungs of patients with chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD).


Neutrophil loss via airways was assessed by dedicated whole-body counting 45 min, 24 h and 2, 4, 7 and 10 days after injection of very small activities of (111)In-labelled neutrophils in 12 healthy nonsmokers, 5 healthy smokers, 16 patients with COPD (of whom 7 were ex-smokers) and 10 patients with bronchiectasis. Lung accumulation of (99m)Tc-labelled neutrophils was assessed by sequential SPECT and Patlak analysis in six COPD patients and three healthy nonsmoking subjects.


Whole body (111)In counts, expressed as percentages of 24 h counts, decreased in all subjects. Losses at 7 days (mean ± SD) were similar in healthy nonsmoking subjects (5.5 ± 1.5%), smoking subjects (6.5 ± 4.4%) and ex-smoking COPD patients (5.8 ± 1.5%). In contrast, currently smoking COPD patients showed higher losses (8.0 ± 3.0%) than healthy nonsmokers (p = 0.03). Two bronchiectatic patients lost 25% and 26%, indicating active disease; mean loss in the remaining eight was 6.9 ± 2.5%. The rate of accumulation of (99m)Tc-neutrophils in the lungs, determined by sequential SPECT, was increased in COPD patients (0.030-0.073 min(-1)) compared with healthy nonsmokers (0-0.002 min(-1); p = 0.02).


In patients with COPD, sequential SPECT showed increased lung accumulation of (99m)Tc-labelled neutrophils, while whole-body counting demonstrated subsequent higher losses of (111)In-labelled neutrophils in patients who continued to smoke. Sequential SPECT as a means of quantifying neutrophil migration deserves further evaluation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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