Haemophilus influenzae in lung explants of patients with end-stage pulmonary disease

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1998 Mar;157(3 Pt 1):950-6. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.157.3.9707010.


In order to determine the presence and distribution of Haemophilus influenzae in lung tissue sections, we obtained lung explants from 49 lung transplant recipients with cystic fibrosis (CF) (n = 16), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) including emphysema (n = 16), bronchiectasis (n = 5), pulmonary hypertension (n = 9), Langerhans cell histiocytosis (n = 1), and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (n = 2). Analysis was done by selective culturing, immunoperoxidase (IP) staining, and by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). H. influenzae was cultured from specimens of the lung explants from one CF and one COPD patient. IP staining of tissue sections was positive in 24 patients (10 CF patients, eight COPD patients, two bronchiectasis patients, and four patients with noninfectious pulmonary diseases). IP-positive tissue sections were PCR-positive, and IP-negative sections were PCR-negative. H. influenzae was more frequently detected in tissue sections of lung explants from CF and COPD patients than from patients with bronchiectasis or noninfectious pulmonary diseases. H. influenzae was diffusely present in the epithelium, the submucosa of the bronchi, the bronchioles, the interstitium, and the alveolar epithelium. H. influenzae was localized extracellularly alone and in bacterial clusters, and was also associated with macrophages in CF patients. The results of this study demonstrate that H. influenzae is often present in the lungs of patients with end-stage pulmonary disease, especially CF and COPD patients. H. influenzae is diffusely present in the respiratory epithelium and subepithelial layers of the lungs of these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bronchi / microbiology
  • Bronchiectasis / microbiology
  • Bronchitis / microbiology
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Coloring Agents
  • Cystic Fibrosis / microbiology
  • Epithelium / microbiology
  • Female
  • Haemophilus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Haemophilus influenzae / isolation & purification*
  • Histiocytosis, Langerhans-Cell / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / microbiology
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Lung / microbiology
  • Lung Diseases / microbiology*
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / microbiology
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / microbiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucous Membrane / microbiology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / microbiology
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / microbiology
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / microbiology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sputum / microbiology


  • Coloring Agents