Glucose, K+, and albumin concentrations in the alveolar milieu of normal humans and pulmonary sarcoidosis patients

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1991 May;143(5 Pt 1):1096-101. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/143.5_Pt_1.1096.


Some properties of the alveolar epithelial barrier during transalveolar transport of water and solutes were studied in normal humans and patients with sarcoidosis by means of the transalveolar capillary concentration gradients of various solutes. A total of 9 normal control subjects (Group A) and 60 sarcoidosis patients, 52 with an evolving disease (Group B) and 8 recovered (Group C), underwent bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). The second aliquot of fluid was used to measure urea, glucose, potassium, and albumin, which were also investigated in plasma. Urea was used to determine the volume of alveolar epithelial lining fluid (AELF volume). Results are expressed as the ratio of solute concentration in AELF over that in plasma (A/P ratio). In Group A there were clear concentration gradients of glucose, potassium, and albumin between the AELF and plasma, as the A/P ratios of glucose, potassium, and albumin were 0.02 +/- 0.006 (mean +/- SEM), 3.2 +/- 0.34, and 0.04 +/- 0.008, respectively. In Group B the A/P ratios of glucose (0.21 +/- 0.02, p less than 0.001) and albumin (0.17 +/- 0.02, p less than 0.001) were significantly increased but that of potassium remained unchanged (2.9 +/- 0.2). The A/P ratios of these various solutes were independent of chest x-ray typing. The albumin but not the glucose A/P ratio was correlated with the percentage of lymphocytes recovered from BAL (p less than 0.02); however, there was no correlation between the albumin A/P ratio and the CD4+/CD8+ T lymphocyte ratio. In group C there was a striking contrast between the albumin A/P ratio, which was normal, and the glucose A/P ratio, which was clearly elevated despite a normal lymphocyte count.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Albumins / analysis*
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / chemistry*
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / cytology
  • Female
  • Glucose / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Potassium / analysis*
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / chemistry*
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / cytology
  • Sarcoidosis / metabolism*


  • Albumins
  • Glucose
  • Potassium