Update on lymphoid interstitial pneumonitis

Curr Opin Pulm Med. 1996 Sep;2(5):429-33.


Lymphoid interstitial pneumonitis (LIP) involves a clinicopathologic pattern of pulmonary disease characterized by diffuse interstitial reactive lymphoid infiltrates. In adults, it occurs most commonly in autoimmune diseases, such as Sjögren's syndrome (0.9% of these patients) and primary biliary cirrhosis, whereas in children it is usually seen in HIV infection. Dysproteinemias (hyper- and hypogammaglobulinemia) are found in more than 60% of patients. Children can show CD8-lymphocytosis in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, lung tissue, peripheral blood, and salivary gland, associated with HLA-DR5 haplotype. Radiographically, most patients with LIP have reticulonodular infiltrates, with or without patchy areas of consolidation. CT scans can show both small nodular and ground glass patterns, patterns that are diagnostically nonspecific. Reduced lung volumes and diffusing capacities are consistent and sensitive indicators of disease in LIP. In an experimental model, diffusing capacity was the single most sensitive functional index of disease progression. Microscopically, LIP is part of a spectrum of pulmonary lymphoid proliferations, ranging from follicular bronchitis-bronchiolitis and pulmonary lymphoid hyperplasia (the latter in AIDS patients), proliferations largely limited to airways, to low-grade malignant lymphoma. These patterns may be difficult to differentiate from each other. It appears that LIP sometimes evolves to lymphoma; the frequency of this evolution is probably low but is difficult to assess because low-grade lymphomas may mimic LIP. A relatively high frequency of LIP patients have Epstein-Barr virus DNA in their lungs but not all patients with LIP show this finding, suggesting other possible etiologies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autoimmune Diseases / pathology
  • Bronchiolitis / pathology
  • Bronchitis / pathology
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / cytology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Child
  • Disease Progression
  • Dysgammaglobulinemia / pathology
  • HIV Infections / pathology
  • HLA-DR5 Antigen / analysis
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary / pathology
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung / virology
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / pathology*
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / physiopathology
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / virology
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Lymphocytosis / pathology
  • Lymphoma / pathology
  • Pseudolymphoma / pathology*
  • Pseudolymphoma / physiopathology
  • Pseudolymphoma / virology
  • Pulmonary Diffusing Capacity
  • Salivary Glands / pathology
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / pathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • HLA-DR5 Antigen