Pathological findings of bronchiectases caused by Mycobacterium avium intracellulare complex

Respir Med. 2003 Aug;97(8):933-8. doi: 10.1016/s0954-6111(03)00120-3.


It has been argued whether bronchiectasis is truly caused by MAC infection or just a predisposed condition in which MAC colonizes. Our present study was designed to evaluate the pathological findings of bronchiectases caused by Mycobacterium avium intracellulare complex (MAC) lung infection and to demonstrate MAC in the lesion of bronchiectases. A retrospective study was performed in nine cases with positive cultures for MAC in whom lung resections were performed. A determination of whether or not MAC caused pulmonary disease was made using the 1997 criteria required by the American Thoracic Society. In addition, MAC were cultured from all nine lung specimens. Pathological findings of bronchiectases were evaluated in these nine patients. Destruction of bronchial cartilage and smooth muscles layer, obstruction of airway by granulomas, and ulceration of bronchial mucosa were frequently observed. Our present study demonstrates that destruction of fundamental bronchial structure due to extensive granuloma formation throughout the airways was likely the main cause of bronchiectases in MAC infection.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bronchiectasis / microbiology
  • Bronchiectasis / pathology*
  • Cartilage / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Smooth / microbiology
  • Mycobacterium avium Complex
  • Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare Infection / complications
  • Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare Infection / pathology*
  • Retrospective Studies