Heterogeneous remodeling of lung vessels in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Lung. Jul-Aug 2005;183(4):291-300. doi: 10.1007/s00408-004-2542-z.


Recently, several reports suggest differences in the vascularization of the various histopathologic patterns of parenchymal remodeling seen in usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP). In this study, we sought to validate the importance of vascular remodeling in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and to examine the relationship between vascular remodeling and parenchymal remodeling or pulmonary function. Open lung biopsies were performed in 57 patients with IPF, and vascular changes in alternating areas of parenchymal remodeling (UIP histologic patterns) were studied. Quantitative analysis of the internal area, internal perimeter, wall thickness, and surrounding cellularity of medium or large pulmonary arteries, as well as their distribution according to air/parenchymal ratios, was performed. Semiquantitative analysis also was used to determine the grade of vascular occlusion. An inverse association was found between vascularization and UIP parenchymal remodeling (p < 0.05); that is, the decreased internal luminal area and perimeter as well as the increased wall thickness run in parallel with progression from alveolar collapse toward severe mural-organizing fibrosis with honeycombing. Vascular regression (diminished internal area and perimeter of vessels) was also associated with higher FEV(1), FVC, and RV values (r = 0.48, p< 0.05), reflecting a tight relationship between vascular remodeling and pulmonary function. A progressive regression of vascularization, reflected by different degrees of luminal occlusion after vascular remodeling, coincided with parenchymal remodeling (alveolar collapse, mural-organizing fibrosis, and honeycombing). This vascular regression may be responsible for the impaired wound healing and progressive fibroproliferation found in patients with IPF. Further studies are needed to determine whether this relationship is causal or consequential.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / pathology
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / physiopathology
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Statistics, Nonparametric