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Respir Med. 1997 Oct;91(9):558-61.

Comparative studies of circulating KL-6, type III procollagen N-terminal peptide and type IV collagen 7S in patients with interstitial pneumonitis and alveolar pneumonia.

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Second Department of Internal Medicine, Ehime University School of Medicine, Japan.


KL-6, a MUC1 mucin preferentially expressed in regenerating type 2 pneumocytes, has been reported to be a sensitive serum marker for evaluating the disease activity of interstitial pneumonitis (IP). Type III procollagen N-terminal peptide (PIIIP) and type IV collagen 7S (7S collagen) have also been reported to be useful in the serological evaluation of the activity. Their levels were measured and their serodiagnostic values were compared simultaneously in patients with IP and alveolar pneumonia. The study population was 45 patients with IP and 12 patients with alveolar pneumonia. Serum KL-6 levels were measured by a specific enzyme immunoassay, and both serum PIIIP and 7S collagen concentrations by their correspondent radioimmunoassay kits. There were no significant difference of serum C-reactive protein level, which was evaluated as an indicator of inflammatory process, between IP and alveolar pneumonia patients. In IP, the abnormally elevated rate of KL-6 [80% (36/45)] was significantly higher than those of PIIIP [40% (18/45)] and 7S collagen [40% (18/45)]. In alveolar pneumonia, the rate of KL-6 [0% (0/12)] was significantly lower than those of PIIIP [33% (4/12)] and 7S collagen [25% (3/12)]. There were no significant correlations among serum levels of the markers. These observations indicate that the serodiagnostic value of KL-6 for IP is superior to that of PIIIP and 7S collagen, and that KL-6 has a characteristic to discriminate IP from alveolar pneumonia.

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