111Indium-labeled neutrophil migration into the lungs of bleomycin-treated rabbits assessed noninvasively by external scintigraphy

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1989 Sep;140(3):756-63. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/140.3.756.


Factors controlling neutrophil migration into the lung are poorly understood, but their identification is important for our understanding of the pathogenesis of inflammatory lung diseases. Pulmonary inflammation is difficult to quantify, and neutrophils in tissues and BAL may not accurately represent cell migration. In this study, intravenously delivered pulses of rabbit neutrophils labeled with Indium-111 (111In-neutrophils) were used to monitor neutrophil migration into the lungs. Radioactivity quantified in the lung "region of interest" (ROI) of external gamma camera scintigrams recorded 24 h after intravenous 111In-neutrophil injection accurately reflected the actual neutrophil-associated lung tissue radioactivity. ROI radioactivity at 24 h also correlated closely with the percent of 111In-neutrophils that had migrated into lavageable air spaces, and this parameter therefore provided an index of total lung 111In-neutrophil migration. Using 24-h ROI radioactivity and percent of injected 111In-neutrophils recovered in BAL at 24 h as indices of neutrophil migration into the lung, it was found that intratracheal saline caused only a transient neutrophil migration, whereas 10 U/kg intratracheal bleomycin induced migration that persisted for as long as 3 wk. 111In-neutrophil migration into the lung, assessed by external scintigraphy, correlated with total neutrophils quantified in histologic sections (r = 0.71, p = 0.006). The data suggest that this approach will be valuable in investigating mechanisms controlling neutrophil migration in lung inflammation, and that 111In-neutrophil scintigraphy may provide a noninvasive index of total lung neutrophil load that might be useful in staging inflammation in patchy diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bleomycin / toxicity*
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Indium Radioisotopes
  • Lung / cytology*
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Neutrophils / physiology*
  • Rabbits
  • Radionuclide Imaging


  • Indium Radioisotopes
  • Bleomycin