Expression of markers of differentiation in normal bronchial epithelium and bronchial dysplasia

J Pathol. 1996 Feb;178(2):146-50. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1096-9896(199602)178:2<146::AID-PATH431>3.0.CO;2-N.


Bronchial epithelial dysplasia is a non-invasive cellular change often associated with physical or chemical injury and considered a pre-neoplastic lesion in the formation of lung cancer. A series of 39 bronchial dysplasias associated with both neoplastic and non-neoplastic lesions were assessed for expression of markers of differentiation by immunocytochemistry and compared with samples of normal bronchial epithelium. The normal bronchial epithelium studied expressed cytokeratins (CKs) 4, 6, 7, 8, 18, and 19 in all cases; CK 13 in 13 cases; and peanut agglutinin (PNA) in seven cases. Involucrin, CK 10, and CK 14 were not observed in the normal bronchial samples. In the dysplastic bronchial biopsies, epithelial staining was observed with epithelial CKs 7, 8, 18, and 19 in all cases; CK 13 was seen in 26 cases; CK 14 in 13 cases; CK 6 in 11 cases; and CK 10 in five cases. In 13 cases of dysplasia, only simple epithelial antigens were identified. Involucrin expression was observed in 17 dysplastic biopsies and PNA in 12. By Fisher's exact test, a significant association between non-severe histological grade of dysplasia and CK 6 expression (P = 0.018) was found. Comparison of the results using the same analysis showed significant correlations between the loss of CK 6 expression (P < 0.001) and the expression of CK 14 (P = 0.008) and involucrin (P = 0.0018) with bronchial dysplasia. These data show that the pattern of differentiation antigen expression in bronchial dysplasia is significantly different from that of the normal bronchial epithelium, but the phenotypic heterogeneity of these lesions is similar to that of bronchial carcinomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, Differentiation / metabolism*
  • Biomarkers
  • Bronchi / metabolism*
  • Bronchi / pathology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Keratins / metabolism
  • Lectins
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Peanut Agglutinin
  • Precancerous Conditions / metabolism*
  • Protein Precursors / metabolism


  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • Biomarkers
  • Lectins
  • Peanut Agglutinin
  • Protein Precursors
  • involucrin
  • Keratins