Interstitial pneumonia in Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome: significance of florid foamy swelling/degeneration (giant lamellar body degeneration) of type-2 pneumocytes

Virchows Arch. 2000 Sep;437(3):304-13. doi: 10.1007/s004280000241.


Although usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP)-like IP has been known as the most serious complication of Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (HPS), its pathologic features and pathogenesis are poorly understood. We investigated biopsied and autopsied lung tissues from five patients who died of UIP-like IP associated with HPS (HPSIP). The salient histopathologic features of HPSIP observed were: (1) alveolar septa displaying florid proliferation of type-2 pneumocytes (2PCs) with characteristic foamy swelling/degeneration; (2) patchy fibrosis with lymphocytic and histiocytic infiltration centered around respiratory bronchioles, occasionally showing constrictive bronchiolitis; and (3) honeycomb change without predilection for the lower lobes or subpleural area. Those peculiar 2PCs were histochemically characterized by the over accumulation of phospholipid, immunohistochemically by a weak positivity for surfactant protein, and ultrastructurally by the presence of numerous giant lamellar bodies that compressed the nucleus with occasional cytoplasmic disruption, together suggesting a form of cellular degeneration with an over accumulation of surfactant (giant lamellar body degeneration). The present study strongly indicates that there is a basic defect in the formation/secretion process of surfactant by the 2PCs in HPS, which may well be the triggering factor for the HPSIP development. Other factors, such as macrophage dysfunction, may be working synergistically for further acceleration of the inflammatory process.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Albinism, Oculocutaneous / pathology*
  • Albinism, Oculocutaneous / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Lung / ultrastructure
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / pathology*
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Middle Aged