Pathophysiologic, morphometric, and biochemical studies of the premature baboon with bronchopulmonary dysplasia

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1992 Apr;145(4 Pt 1):872-81. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/145.4_Pt_1.872.


Pathophysiologic, morphometric, and biochemical (surfactant and coagulation-fibrinolytic parameters) features were studied in premature baboons with and without bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). A total of 22 baboons were delivered by hysterotomy at 75% of gestation and randomized into two groups. Group 1 (PRN) animals were ventilated with high-frequency oscillation for 48 to 72 h and then changed to positive-pressure ventilation (PPV) while maintained on clinically appropriate oxygen for the 21-day experimental period. Group 2 (BPD) animals were ventilated with PPV and 1.0 FlO2 for 7 days followed by 0.8 FlO2 for 14 days. Group 3 (control) animals were delivered and immediately killed at 140 days gestation. Group 1 animals showed no significant airway or saccular lesions, and alveolarization of the saccules was present. Group 2 animals showed metaplastic or hyperplastic epithelial lesions in airways and an alternating pattern of atelectatic but more normal appearing saccules and alveoli interposed between foci of thickened overexpanded saccular walls with no alveolarization. Differences within and between the three study groups were analyzed morphometrically. When numerical densities were examined by comparing control, PRN, BPD-atelectatic areas, and BPD-overexpanded areas. Type II cells were significantly increased in the BPD-overexpanded sites above those of control and PRN values. The interstitial cells were significantly more numerous in the BPD-atelectatic blocks compared with control and BPD-overexpanded blocks. Endothelial cell numerical densities were significantly decreased in the overexpanded sites of the BPD animals compared with the control, PRN, and BPD-atelectatic values. Volume density data showed that the interstitial compartment of the BPD group was significantly larger than those of the control and PRN groups. This was seen as significant increases in the cellular, noncellular, and connective tissue fiber components. Vascular endothelium or lumen volume densities were not different between the BPD and PRN animals, but did differ from those of the 140-day gestation controls. Comparable levels of lavage plasminogen-dependent fibrinolytic activity, were detectable at the 21-day study interval. The phospholipid composition of pulmonary surfactant, including disaturated PC and total PG, was similar between BPD and PRN groups at 21 days. The pathologic, morphometric, and biochemical patterns in this study probably represent those seen in human neonates with mild to moderate clinical BPD who survive. At this time, it is not known if the destructive endothelial lesion and the lack of alveolarization in the overexpanded and fibrotic lesions will resolve over time in long-term BPD survivors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / chemistry
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia* / metabolism
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia* / pathology
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia* / physiopathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fibrinolysis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Lung / ultrastructure*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Papio*
  • Pulmonary Surfactants / chemistry*
  • Respiration, Artificial


  • Pulmonary Surfactants