Constrictive bronchiolitis obliterans. Characterisation of fibrogenesis and lysyl oxidase expression patterns

Virchows Arch. 2001 Jul;439(1):78-84. doi: 10.1007/s004280100402.


The process leading to irreversible fibrotic constriction of the bronchioles was studied in two cases of bronchiolitis obliterans (BO) after bone marrow transplantation. Because lysyl oxidase (LOX) is the main collagen cross-linking enzyme that might account for irreversible fibrosis, its expression was studied together with expression of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. Characteristic types of lesions could be distinguished on the basis of histological and immunohistological criteria. An inflammatory stage was characterised by infiltration restricted to the bronchioles by lymphocytes and dendritic cells. A fibro-inflammatory stage was characterised by the coexistence of a persistent immune cellular lesion pattern with further focal modelling of a sub-epithelial neo-synthesised connective matrix. LOX expression was observed at the tips of intra-luminal fibrotic protrusions, together with tenascin and cellular fibronectin. A fibrotic stage was characterised by dense ECM deposits spreading throughout the peri-bronchiolar connective tissue, resulting in bronchiole obliteration and final disappearance. In contrast to reversible cases of fibrosis, persistence of long-term LOX expression reflecting continuing fibrosing activity might account for the irreversible status of BO. Our two cases illustrated that, at inflammatory and fibro-inflammatory stages, BO may be stabilised by immunosuppressive treatment, while the persistence of LOX expression in the fibrotic stage might correspond to a disease that becomes irreversible and fatal.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Azathioprine / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • Bronchiolitis Obliterans / drug therapy
  • Bronchiolitis Obliterans / enzymology*
  • Bronchiolitis Obliterans / pathology*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Fibronectins / metabolism
  • Fibrosis / enzymology
  • Fibrosis / pathology
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Phosphates / metabolism
  • Protein-Lysine 6-Oxidase / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Fibronectins
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Phosphates
  • tenacin
  • Protein-Lysine 6-Oxidase
  • Azathioprine