Follicular bronchiolitis: thin-section CT and histologic findings

Radiology. 1999 Sep;212(3):637-42. doi: 10.1148/radiology.212.3.r99se04637.


Purpose: To evaluate the thin-section computed tomographic (CT) findings of follicular bronchiolitis and compare them with the histologic findings.

Materials and methods: Thin-section CT scans obtained in 12 patients (age range, 24-77 years; mean age, 47 years) with follicular bronchiolitis proved at open lung biopsy were reviewed by two observers. Underlying conditions included rheumatoid arthritis (n = 8), mixed collagen vascular disorders (n = 2), autoimmune disorder (n = 1), and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (n = 1). All patients had thin-section CT scans (1.0-1.5-mm collimation, 11 patients; 3.0-mm collimation, one patient; high-spatial-frequency reconstruction algorithm) obtained at 10-mm intervals through the chest.

Results: The main CT findings included bilateral centrilobular (n = 12) and peribronchial (n = 5) nodules. All 12 patients had nodules smaller than 3 mm in diameter; six patients also had nodules 3-12 mm in diameter. Areas of ground-glass opacity were present in nine (75%) patients. Histologically, all patients had lymphoid hyperplasia along the bronchioles; eight had peribronchiolar lymphocytic infiltration.

Conclusion: The cardinal CT feature of follicular bronchiolitis consists of small centrilobular nodules variably associated with peribronchial nodules and areas of ground-glass opacity.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / diagnostic imaging
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / pathology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnostic imaging
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / pathology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Autoimmune Diseases / pathology
  • Bronchi / pathology
  • Bronchiolitis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Bronchiolitis / pathology
  • Bronchography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mixed Connective Tissue Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Mixed Connective Tissue Disease / pathology
  • Pseudolymphoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pseudolymphoma / pathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*