Trace metals in fluids lining the respiratory system of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and diffuse lung diseases.J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2017 Jul; 42:39-44.JT
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is an interstitial lung disease with a poor prognosis and an undefined etiopathogenesis. Oxidative stress contributes to alveolar injury and fibrosis development and, because transition metals are essential to the functioning of most proteins involved in redox reactions, a better knowledge of metal concentrations and metabolism in the respiratory system of IPF patients may provide a valuable complementary approach to prevent and manage a disease which is often misdiagnosed or diagnosed in later stages. The present review summarizes and discusses literature data on the elemental composition of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), induced sputum and exhaled breath condensate (EBC) from patients affected by IPF and healthy subjects. Available data are scanty and the lack of consistent methods for the collection and analysis of lung and airways lining fluids makes it difficult to compare the results of different studies. However, the elemental composition of BAL samples from IPF patients seems to have a specific profile that can be distinguished from that of patients with other interstitial lung diseases (ILD) or control subjects. Suggestions are given towards standard sampling and analytical procedures of BAL samples, in the aim to assess typical element concentration patterns and their potential role as biomarkers of IPF.