Ultrastructure of bronchial biopsies from patients with allergic and non-allergic asthma

Department of Medical Cell Biology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden
Respiratory Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.09). 05/2005; 99(4):429-43. DOI: 10.1016/j.rmed.2004.08.013
Source: PubMed


Epithelial damage is commonly found in airways of asthma patients. The aim of this study was to investigate epithelial damage in allergic and non-allergic asthma at the ultrastructural level. Bronchial biopsies obtained from patients with allergic asthma (n=11), non-allergic asthma (n=7), and healthy controls (n=5) were studied by transmission electron microscopy. Epithelial damage was found to be extensive in both asthma groups. Both in basal and in columnar cells, relative desmosome length was reduced by 30-40%. In columnar cells, half-desmosomes (i.e., desmosomes of which only one side was present) were frequently noticed. Eosinophils showing piece-meal degranulation were commonly observed in allergic asthma. Degranulating mast cells were more often observed in allergic asthma. Goblet cell hyperplasia was only found in allergic asthma. Lymphocytes were increased in both groups. In both groups, the lamina densa of the basal lamina was thicker than the control by about 40-50%. In allergic asthma the lamina densa was irregular with focal thickening. While there was always a tendency for changes (epithelial damage, desmosomes, degranulating mast cells, basal lamina) to be more extensive in allergic asthma compared to non-allergic asthma, there was no significant difference between the two groups in this respect. Reduced desmosomal contact may be an important factor in the epithelial shedding observed in patients with asthma.

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Available from: Christer Janson, Oct 10, 2015
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    • "In mice with experimental asthma, there is a widening of these spaces (Figure 4(c)). This widening might be because of reduction in tight connections [45]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Studying ultrastructural changes could reveal novel pathophysiology of obese-asthmatic condition as existing concepts in asthma pathogenesis are based on the histological changes of the diseased airway. While asthma is defined in functional terms, the potential of electron microscopy (EM) in providing cellular and subcellular detail is underutilized. With this view, we have performed transmission EM in the lungs from allergic mice that show key features of asthma and high-fat- or high-fructose-fed mice that mimicked metabolic syndrome to illustrate the ultrastructural changes. The primary focus was epithelial injury and metaplasia, which are cardinal features of asthma and initiate airway remodeling. EM findings of the allergically inflamed mouse lungs correlate with known features of human asthma such as increased mitochondria in airway smooth muscle, platelet activation and subepithelial myofibroblasts. Interestingly, we found a clear and unambiguous evidence to suggest that ciliated cells can become goblet cells using immunoelectron microscopy. Additionally, we show for the first time the stressed mitochondria in the bronchial epithelia of high-fat- or high-fructose-fed mice even without allergen exposure. These results may stimulate interest in using EM in understanding novel pathological mechanisms for different subtypes of asthma including obese asthma.
    09/2013; 2013:261297. DOI:10.1155/2013/261297
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    • "The relative length of the desmosomes was reduced in both types of asthma, more so in the columnar cells in allergic asthma. Half desmosomes were also common in this group consisting of a single plaque in one of the adjacent cells [23]. The authors speculated that asthma patients have an intrinsic or acquired deficiency in the synthesis of desmosomes, which would make the epithelium more prone to loss of columnar cells. "
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    ABSTRACT: Asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the airways, and the airway epithelium has the central role in its pathogenesis. In general, the airway inflammation is characterised by the infiltration of the epithelium and submucosa by a range of inflammatory cells driven largely by Th-2 lymphocytes, eosinophils, and mast cells. The pathogenic mechanisms of nonatopic asthma in comparison to its atopic counterpart have always been a subject of debate. Although clinically are two distinct entities, more similarities than differences have been observed between the two in terms of immunopathogenesis, underlying IgE mechanisms, and so on. in a number of previous studies. More information has become available in recent years comparing the ultrastructure of the epithelium in these two types of asthma. A comparison of airway epithelium in atopic and nonatopic asthma is presented here from the available information in the literature. Similarities outnumber the differences, until we unravel the mystery surrounding these two important phenotypes of asthma in more detail.
    12/2011; 2011:195846. DOI:10.5402/2011/195846
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    • "In accordance with their functions, alterations in their structure and/or composition are involved in a great variety of illnesses. Concretely, BM thickening with altered deposition of ECM proteins, appearing before detectable functional defects, is a key pathological feature in several lung and kidney diseases such as asthma and diabetes [12] [13]. Accumulation of some ECM proteins such as collagen IV and laminin has also been described in chronic pulmonary obstructive disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. "
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    ABSTRACT: Vitamin A is essential for lung development and pulmonary cell differentiation and its deficiency results in alterations of lung structure and function. Basement membranes (BMs) are also involved in those processes, and retinoic acid, the main biologically active form of vitamin A, influences the expression of extracellular matrix macromolecules. Therefore, we have analyzed the ultrastructure and collagen content of lung alveolar BM in growing rats deficient in vitamin A and the recovering effect of all-trans retinoic acid. Male weanling pups were fed a retinol-adequate or -deficient diet until they were 60 days old. A group of vitamin A-deficient pups were recovered by daily intraperitoneal injections of all-trans retinoic acid for 10 days. Alveolar BM in vitamin A-deficient rats doubled its thickness and contained irregularly scattered collagen fibrils. Immunocytochemistry revealed that these fibrils were composed of collagen I. Total content of both collagen I protein and its mRNA was greater in vitamin-deficient lungs. In agreement with the greater size of the BM the amount of collagen IV was also increased. Proinflammatory cytokines, IL-1alpha, IL-1beta and TNF-alpha, did not change, but myeloperoxidase and TGF-beta1 were increased. Treatment of vitamin A-deficient rats with retinoic acid reversed all the alterations, but the BM thickness recovered only partially. Retinoic acid recovering activity occurred in the presence of increasing oxidative stress. In conclusion, vitamin A deficiency results in alterations of the structure and composition of the alveolar BM which are probably mediated by TGF-beta1 and reverted by retinoic acid. These alterations could contribute to the impairment of lung function and predispose to pulmonary disease.
    The Journal of nutritional biochemistry 04/2009; 21(3):227-36. DOI:10.1016/j.jnutbio.2008.12.007 · 3.79 Impact Factor
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