A study of monokine release and natural killer activity in the bronchoalveolar lavage of subjects with farmer's lung

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1993 Apr;147(4):934-9. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/147.4.934.


We examined the interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) releasability of alveolar macrophages and the natural killer (NK) cell activity in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cells of 11 patients with Farmer's lung at different stages of the disease. Although there were some variations in the levels of monokine release, macrophages of patients with acute disease secreted significantly higher spontaneous levels of TNF alpha than did a nonfarming control group (p = 0.0002). Conversely, TNF alpha release stimulated by bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was similar in patients with acute disease when compared with that in normal control subjects. IL-1 was also spontaneously secreted in significantly greater amounts by patients with acute Farmer's lung than by subjects in a control group (p = 0.0001). However, LPS-induced IL-1 release was significantly diminished in BAL macrophages from patients with acute manifestations of the disease when compared with that in control subjects (p = 0.001). Treating hypersensitivity pneumonitis with corticosteroids or by contact avoidance resulted in very significant decrease in spontaneous and LPS-stimulated IL-1 production by BAL macrophages (p = 0.0001 and p = 0.03, respectively), as well as in a decrease in spontaneous TNF alpha release that was also significant (p = 0.01). In addition, BAL cells of patients in the acute phase had a significant NK cell activity (mean +/- SEM of 18.33 +/- 2.65%). Treatment of these patients resulted in an increase in NK cell activity (mean of 40.17 +/- 7.86%), which was significantly different from values of patients with acute disease (p = 0.037).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / immunology*
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / pathology
  • Farmer's Lung / immunology*
  • Farmer's Lung / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1 / metabolism*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism*


  • Interleukin-1
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha