Centrilobular and panlobular emphysema in smokers. Two distinct morphologic and functional entities

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1991 Dec;144(6):1385-90. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/144.6.1385.


In order to investigate the hypothesis that different morphologic patterns of disease might correspond to different mechanical properties of the lung in emphysema, pulmonary function tests and lung mechanics were measured in 34 subjects undergoing lung resection for peripheral lung tumors. Using standard microscopic criteria, pure or predominant centrilobular (n = 18) or panlobular (n = 16) emphysema was diagnosed in lungs. The degree of emphysema measured by the mean linear intercept (Lm) was not significantly different between the two groups. However, the coefficient of variation of the interalveolar wall distance (CV) was significantly higher for the same Lm in CLE than in PLE. This indicates that CLE has an uneven pattern of destruction, whereas PLE is more homogeneous. CLE had a higher degree of abnormalities in the small airways (SAD) than did PLE (p less than 0.05) mainly because of significantly higher muscle score (p less than 0.001) and fibrosis. CLE also had a higher proportion of airways less than 400 microns in diameter than did PLE (p less than 0.05). Static compliance, specific compliance, and the exponential constant (K) were significantly lower (p less than 0.005, p less than 0.001, and p less than 0.05, respectively) in CLE than in PLE. FEV1/FVC was significantly correlated with SAD in CLE (r = -0.69, p less than 0.01) but not in PLE (r = 0.29 p greater than 0.05); conversely, FEV1/FVC was significantly correlated with elasticity (K) in PLE (r = -0.72, p less than 0.01) but not in CLE (r = 0.08, p greater than 0.05).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / classification
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / pathology*
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / physiopathology
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Respiratory Mechanics / physiology
  • Smoking / pathology*
  • Smoking / physiopathology