Ultrastructure of canine type II pneumocytes during hypothermic ischemia of the lung: a study by means of conventional and energy filtering transmission electron microscopy and stereology

Anat Rec. 2001 Jun 1;263(2):118-26. doi: 10.1002/ar.1084.


Alterations in pulmonary surfactant have been reported to be associated with ischemia/reperfusion injury in experimental and clinical lung transplantation. It is unknown whether these alterations are due to damage to surfactant synthesizing type II pneumocytes during hypothermic ischemic storage. The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of hypothermic ischemic storage of the lung on canine type II pneumocytes by means of conventional (CTEM) and energy filtering TEM (EFTEM) and stereology. The lungs of 18 dogs were fixed for TEM immediately after cardiac arrest (6 double lungs) and after storage in Tutofusin at 4 degrees C for 20 min, 4 hr, 8 hr, and 12 hr (6 single lungs, respectively). Using a systematic uniform random sampling scheme, type II pneumocytes were analyzed qualitatively and stereologically. The relative phosphorus content of cell organelles, especially the surfactant containing lamellar bodies, was investigated by EFTEM. By CTEM, no major qualitative alterations could be observed in type II pneumocytes of the experimental groups. Stereologically, no significant changes in the volume densities or the volume-to-surface ratios of type II pneumocytes and their lamellar bodies were found. By EFTEM, the highest intracellular phosphorus signals were recorded over lamellar bodies in all experimental groups. No changes in the phosphorus signals were observed during ischemia. These results indicate that the ultrastructure of canine type II pneumocytes and their lamellar bodies is not affected by hypothermic ischemia of the lung up to 12 hr. Structural preservation of intracellular surfactant is possible during prolonged ischemic lung storage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / metabolism
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / ultrastructure
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Hypothermia, Induced
  • Ischemia / pathology*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron / methods*
  • Pulmonary Surfactants / metabolism
  • Respiratory Mucosa / metabolism
  • Respiratory Mucosa / ultrastructure*


  • Pulmonary Surfactants