Myofibroblasts in interstitial lung diseases show diverse electron microscopic and invasive features.
The characteristic features of myofibroblasts in various lung disorders are poorly understood. We have evaluated the ultrastructure and invasive capacities of myofibroblasts cultured from small volumes of diagnostic bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid samples from patients with different types of lung diseases. Cells were cultured from samples of BAL fluid collected from 51 patients that had undergone bronchoscopy and BAL for diagnostic purposes. The cells were visualized by transmission electron microscopy and immunoelectron microscopy to achieve ultrastructural localization of alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and fibronectin. The levels of α-SMA protein and mRNA and fibronectin mRNA were measured by western blot and quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. The invasive capacities of the cells were evaluated. The cultured cells were either fibroblasts or myofibroblasts. The structure of the fibronexus, and the amounts of intracellular actin, extracellular fibronectin and cell junctions of myofibroblasts varied in different diseases. In electron and immunoelectron microscopy, cells cultured from interstitial lung diseases (ILDs) expressed more actin filaments and α-SMA than normal lung. The invasive capacity of the cells obtained from patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis was higher than that from patients with other type of ILDs. Cells expressing more actin filaments had a higher invasion capacity. It is concluded that electron and immunoelectron microscopic studies of myofibroblasts can reveal differential features in various diseases. An analysis of myofibroblasts cultured from diagnostic BAL fluid samples may represent a new kind of tool for diagnostics and research into lung diseases.
Department of Internal Medicine, Respiratory Research Unit, Oulu University Hospital and Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.
SourceLaboratory investigation; a journal of technical methods and pathology 92:9 2012 Sep pg 1270-84
Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid
Lung Diseases, Interstitial
Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
Pub Type(s)Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't