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PLoS One. 2017 Aug 7;12(8):e0182378. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0182378. eCollection 2017.

Myofibroblasts are increased in the lung parenchyma in asthma.

Author information

1
Airway Inflammation Group, Snyder Institute of Chronic Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
2
Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
3
Pathfinder Forum, Forensic Pathology, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
4
Department of Pulmonary Physiology and Sleep Medicine, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Increased airway smooth muscle is observed in large and small airways in asthma. Semi-quantitative estimates suggest that cells containing alpha smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) are also increased in the lung parenchyma. This study quantified and characterized α-SMA positive cells (α-SMA+) in the lung parenchyma of non-asthmatic and asthmatic individuals.

METHODS:

Post-mortem sections of peripheral lung from cases of fatal asthma (FA), persons with asthma dying of non-respiratory causes (NFA) and non-asthma control subjects (NAC) were stained for α-SMA, quantified using point-counting and normalised to alveolar basement membrane length and interstitial area.

RESULTS:

α-SMA+ fractional area was increased in alveolar parenchyma in both FA (14.7 ± 2.8% of tissue area) and NFA (13.0 ± 1.2%), compared with NAC (7.4 ± 2.4%), p < 0.05 The difference was greater in upper lobes compared with lower lobes (p < 0.01) in both asthma groups. Similar changes were observed in alveolar ducts and alveolar walls. The electron microscopic features of the α-SMA+ cells were characteristic of myofibroblasts.

CONCLUSIONS:

We conclude that in asthma there is a marked increase in α-SMA+ myofibroblasts in the lung parenchyma. The physiologic consequences of this increase are unknown.

PMID:
28787016
PMCID:
PMC5546673
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0182378
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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