Multinuclear giant cells in bronchoalveolar lavage in interstitial lung diseases

Respiration. 1987;51(4):307-11. doi: 10.1159/000195218.


The presence of multinuclear giant cells (MGC) is a pathological feature of interstitial lung diseases produced either by some organic and inorganic dust or by granulomatous disorders. In order to assess the diagnostic significance of the presence of MGC in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), the percent of MGC in the BAL of 52 subjects exposed to asbestos (26 with asbestosis) as well as from 79 with several interstitial lung diseases (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary fibrosis associated with collagen vascular disorders, hypersensitivity pneumonitis and sarcoidosis) was compared with that of a control group of 14 subjects with no evidence of diffuse pulmonary disease. The results of this study suggest that MGC are present in the BAL of subjects with no pulmonary disease, and the quantification of these cells does not aid in the diagnostic evaluation of interstitial lung diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alveolitis, Extrinsic Allergic / pathology
  • Asbestosis / pathology
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / pathology*
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / pathology*
  • Macrophages / pathology*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology
  • Sarcoidosis / pathology