Alveolar macrophages in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis.

Selvaraj, P; Venkataprasad, N.; Vijayan, V.K.; Prabhakar, R.; Narayanan, P.R.

Lung India; 1988; 6; 71-74.

Total and HLA-DR positive alveolar macrophages were enumerated in the broncho-alveolar lavage fluids of active pulmonary tuberculosis, inactive pulmonary tuberculosis (treated cases), non-tuberculous lung disease patients and normal healthy individuals. A significantly increased number of macrophages was found in the patient groups than the normal individuals: however, there was no difference in HLA-DR positive cells. Among the different patient groups, smokers had more macrophages as well as more HLA-DR positive macrophages than non-smokers and normal subjects. Total number of alveolar macrophages of the active tuberculosis non-smoker group was significantly higher than the inactive tuberculosis non-smoker group and normal individuals. On the contrary, a slightly decreased number of HLA-DR positive cells was seen in the non-smoker group of active-TB patients. The present study suggests that infection and smoking induce the accumulation of macrophages in the lung. The implication of these findings in relation to tuberculosis is discussed.


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