The pathogenesis of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis in mice

Am J Pathol. 1974 Nov;77(2):185-97.


Administration of 0.5 mg bleomycin to mice twice weekly for 4 weeks induced pulmonary fibrosis. The initial site of injury was the intima of pulmonary arteries and veins where endothelial cells became edematous and were separated from the underlying basement membrane by large blebs. These lesions occurred after 2 weeks and were associated with infiltration of perivascular spaces by lymphocytes and plasma cells. Capillary endothelial blebbing and interstitial edema were observed after 4 weeks, when multifocal necrosis of type 1 alveolar epithelial cells was accompanied by fibrinous exudation into the alveoli. The process of repair was characterized by proliferation and metaplasia of type 2 epithelial cells, fibroblastic organization of alveolar fibrin and fibrosis of the interstitium within 8 to 12 weeks. The consistent induction of changes similar to those of diffuse pulmonary fibrosis or fibrosing alveolitis in man suggests that bleomycin-induced injury may provide a suitable model for the investigation of this ill-defined group of diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bleomycin*
  • Capillaries / ultrastructure
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Endothelium / ultrastructure
  • Epithelium / ultrastructure
  • Exudates and Transudates
  • Fibrin
  • Fibroblasts
  • Lung / drug effects*
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung / ultrastructure
  • Lymphocytes
  • Metaplasia
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Necrosis
  • Plasma Cells
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / ultrastructure
  • Pulmonary Artery / pathology
  • Pulmonary Edema / chemically induced
  • Pulmonary Edema / pathology
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / chemically induced*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology
  • Pulmonary Veins / pathology


  • Bleomycin
  • Fibrin