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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 1999 Feb;20(2):237-47.

Tissue macrophages associated with angiogenesis in chronic airway inflammation in rats.

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Cardiovascular Research Institute and Department of Anatomy, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0130, USA.


Angiogenesis is a feature of chronic inflammation produced by Mycoplasma pulmonis infection of the respiratory tract. The mechanism of this angiogenesis is unknown, but cellular growth factors and matrix remodeling proteases produced by inflammatory cells are likely to be involved. The goal of this study was to determine the relationship between changes in the number, shape, and distribution of ED2-immunoreactive macrophages and the development of angiogenesis in the tracheal mucosa of Wistar rats after M. pulmonis infection. In pathogen-free rats, ED2-positive cells were scattered in the airway mucosa (261 +/- 42 cells/mm2 of surface, mean +/- SE). Most cells were irregularly shaped and had moderate ED2 immunoreactivity. No lymphoid tissue was present. The number of ED2-positive cells increased rapidly after infection, was 120% above baseline at 1 wk, and remained significantly increased throughout the 4-wk study (P < 0.05). Angiogenesis was first detected at 2 wk, and at 3 wk the vessel length density was nearly 8-fold the pathogen-free value. At 3 and 4 wk, focal sites of angiogenesis coincided with discrete clusters of round, strongly immunoreactive ED2-positive cells (1,340 +/- 124 cells/mm2) in polyp-like collections of mucosal lymphoid tissue. The close association of distinctive ED2-positive cells with angiogenic blood vessels suggests a relationship between a subset of tissue macrophages and the angiogenesis associated with M. pulmonis infection. The time course of the changes indicates that the initial influx of ED2-positive macrophages precedes the angiogenesis, and the rounding of the cells parallels the growth of new vessels.

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