Correlation of structure and function in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1995 Apr;151(4):1180-8. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/151.4.1180.


The early stage of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is thought to involve a smaller number of alveoli and to be characterized predominantly by cellularity and minimal fibrosis, whereas advanced disease involves a large number of alveoli and is characterized predominantly by fibrosis with minimal cellularity. In addition, correlative studies have indicated that prognosis and response to therapy is determined in part by the extent of fibrosis and cellularity. This study was undertaken to determine whether pulmonary function assessment would help distinguish between the cellular and fibrotic phases of this disorder, as determined by a semiquantitative pathology scoring system that comprised four factor scores: fibrosis, cellularity, granulation/connective tissue, and desquamation. Ninety-six untreated patients with biopsy-confirmed IPF (27 never smokers, 32 current smokers, and 37 ex-smokers) were evaluated. In the group as a whole, there was no significant relationship between the fibrosis or the connective/granulation tissue factor scores and any of the physiologic parameters. The DLCO correlated with the "desquamation" and the total pathology scores, whereas the TLC and FVC correlated with the cellularity factor score. In the current smokers, the coefficient of elastic retraction, DLCO/VA, and FEV1/FVC ratio were significantly lower than in never smokers and ex-smokers, and TLC and FVC were higher than in never smokers. Also, the mean cellularity and granulation/connective tissue factor scores were significantly lower, and the desquamation factor score was significantly higher than those in never smokers and ex-smokers. Both age and smoking status were significant for the cellularity factor score, whereas for the connective/granulation tissue factor score, age was not significant but smoking status was.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / physiopathology*
  • Respiratory Mechanics*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Smoking / pathology
  • Smoking / physiopathology
  • Vital Capacity