Cytology of bronchoalveolar lavage in some rare pulmonary disorders: pulmonary alveolar proteinosis and amiodarone pulmonary toxicity

Cytopathology. 1994 Feb;5(1):9-16. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2303.1994.tb00122.x.


Cytological patterns of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) in pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP) and amiodarone pulmonary toxicity (APT) are presented together with light and electron microscopy (EM). The differential cell count of BAL in both diseases is similar in that alveolar macrophages predominate. However, the cytology of PAP is characterized by scanty macrophages and alveolar epithelial cells in abundant periodic acid-Schiff (PAS)-positive extracellular material. The gross appearance of the BAL fluid is therefore opaque. In contrast, the cytology of APT is characterized by foamy alveolar macrophages with numerous lamellar bodies in their cytoplasm, and the BAL fluid is clear.

MeSH terms

  • Amiodarone / adverse effects*
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / cytology*
  • Cytodiagnosis
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Lung Diseases / pathology*
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / drug effects
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / pathology
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / ultrastructure
  • Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis / pathology*


  • Amiodarone