Metabolic lung disease: imaging and histopathologic findings

Eur J Radiol. 2005 May;54(2):233-45. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2004.07.003.


Metabolic lung disease includes pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP), pulmonary amyloidosis, metastatic pulmonary calcification, dendritic pulmonary ossification, pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis, and storage diseases. In pulmonary alveolar proteinosis, CT demonstrates air-space consolidation with thickened interlobular septa, producing the so-called "crazy paving" appearance. Pulmonary amyloidosis can appear as parenchymal nodules (nodular parenchymal form), diffuse interstitial deposit (diffuse interstitial form), or submucosal deposits in the airways (tracheobronchial form). Metastatic pulmonary calcification may appear on high-resolution CT as numerous 3- to 10-mm diameter calcified nodules or, more commonly as fluffy and poorly defined nodular opacities. In pulmonary microlithiasis, high-resolution CT demonstrates diffuse punctuate micronodules showing slight perilobular predominance resulting in apparent calcification of interlobular septa. Niemann-Pick disease appears as ground-glass attenuation in the upper lung zone and thickening of the interlobular septa in the lower lung zone. Radiologic study including high-resolution CT will be helpful for the diagnosis and follow-up of these diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Lung Diseases / pathology*
  • Male
  • Medical Illustration
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography, Thoracic / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*