Measurement of pulmonary epithelial permeability with 99mTc-DTPA aerosol

Semin Nucl Med. 1986 Oct;16(4):275-84. doi: 10.1016/s0001-2998(86)80014-9.


The rate at which inhaled aerosol of 99mTc-diethylenetriamine pentaacetate (DTPA) leaves the lung by diffusion into the vascular space can be measured with a gamma camera or simple probe. In normal humans, 99mTc-DTPA clears from the lung with a half time of about 80 minutes. Many acute and chronic conditions that alter the integrity of the pulmonary epithelium cause an increased clearance rate. Thus cigarette smoking, alveolitis from a variety of causes, adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and hyaline membrane disease (HMD) in the infant have all been shown to be associated with rapid pulmonary clearance of 99mTc-DTPA. Rapid clearance is also promoted by increased lung volume and decreased surfactant activity. Although the mechanism of increased clearance in pathological states is not known, the 99mTc-DTPA lung-clearance technique has great potential clinically, particularly in patients at risk from ARDS and HMD and in the diagnosis and follow-up of alveolitis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols
  • Alveolitis, Extrinsic Allergic / diagnostic imaging
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Hyaline Membrane Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Pentetic Acid*
  • Pulmonary Circulation
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / diagnostic imaging
  • Smoking
  • Technetium Tc 99m Pentetate
  • Technetium*


  • Aerosols
  • Technetium
  • Pentetic Acid
  • Technetium Tc 99m Pentetate