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Histol Histopathol. 1993 Apr;8(2):247-55.

Pathological changes in organs of rats chronically exposed to hypoxia. Development of pulmonary lipidosis.

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Department of Pathology, Tel Aviv University Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Israel.


Rats were exposed to chronic normobaric hypoxia of progressively increasing severity; down to 8% or 7% oxygen concentrations. In addition to loss of weight, pathology revealed congestion, haemorrhages, hypertrophy of the heart involving mainly the right ventricle, thickening of arteries, ischaemic changes in the myocardium and extramedullary haematopoiesis in the spleen. Changes not described up until now were: 1) sheets of foam cells in the pulmonary alveoli; 2) foamy and solid storing cells in the spleen; 3) mucoid changes in the atrioventricular valve leaflets; 4) hyperplasia of the juxtaglomerular apparatus; 5) atrophy of the adrenal glomerulosa and hyperplasia of medulla; 6) atrophy of the perifollicular B-cell zone in the spleen; and 7) lipid pigment deposition in various organs. The findings indicate that severe chronic hypoxia induces a significant pulmonary lipidosis similar to that caused by amphiphilic cationic drugs, presumably by inhibiting hydrolytic enzyme activities. The observations are of importance in human hypoxic conditions and open the possibility of their rational treatment.

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