Ultrastructural changes in the lungs of neonatal ...



Title Ultrastructural changes in the lungs of neonatal rats intratracheally inoculated with meconium
Author(s) J. Martinez-Burnes, Alfonso Lopez, Glenda M. Wright, W. P. Ireland, D. W. Wadowska, G. V. Dobbin
Journal Histology and Histopathology
Date 2003
Volume 18
Issue 4
Start page 1081
End page 1094
Abstract Meconium aspiration syndrome has been for many years an important cause of neonatal respiratory distress in newborn babies and sporadically reported in animals. This investigation was designed to study the ultrastructural and morphometric changes in the lungs of neonatal rats following the intratracheal inoculation of meconium. Seven-day-old Fischer-344 rats (n = 24) were randomly allocated in two groups. One group was intratracheally inoculated with saline solution and the second group received homologous meconium. Neonates were euthanatized at 1, 3 and 7 postinoculation days (PID) and lungs were examined by light and electron microscopy. Saline solution did not induce any ultrastructural changes in the lung. In contrast, meconium induced deciliation, recruitment of neutrophils and pulmonary alveolar macrophages to the bronchoalveolar space, intravascular sequestration of neutrophils and aggregation of platelets at PID 1 and 3. Other ultrastructural changes at PID 1 and 3 included interstitial edema and escape of red cells and fibrin into the alveolar space and interstitium. Interstitial edema and sequestration of neutrophils were responsible for the significant increase in thickness of alveolar septa. At PID 7 there was hyperplasia and enlargement of type II pneumocytes as well as interstitial proliferation of mesenchymal cells with intra-alveolar fibrosis. It was concluded that intratracheal inoculation of meconium in neonatal rats induces acute ultrastructural changes followed by a reparative response.

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