Acute and chronic pleural changes after the intrapleural instillation of mitoxantrone in rabbits

Lung. 1998;176(4):227-36. doi: 10.1007/pl00007605.


A previous study demonstrated that the intrapleural injection of 2 mg/kg mitoxantrone in rabbits resulted in a degree of pleurodesis which is comparable to that seen after 35 mg/kg tetracycline but that the animals had a high mortality rate after this dose of mitoxantrone. The objective of the present study was to assess the acute pleural fluid findings, the acute gross and microscopic pleural findings, and the chronic gross and microscopic findings in rabbits that received mitoxantrone. Mitoxantrone, 1.5 mg/kg, was instilled intrapleurally in 70 lightly anesthetized male rabbits. Groups of rabbits were sacrificed 1, 2, 4, 7, 15, 28, and 60 days after the injection. The intrapleural injection of mitoxantrone resulted in an exudative effusion on day 1. The pleural fluid contained predominantly neutrophils and had a mean lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) level that exceeded 4,000 IU/liter. Over the following week the volume of fluid diminished, the predominant cell became the macrophage, and the LDH levels decreased to less than 400 IU/liter. Macroscopic examination of the pleural space revealed that the mean degree of pleurodesis increased progressively over the 60-day observation period. With microscopy, the mean degree of pleural fibrosis also increased progressively. There were also substantial fibrosis and inflammation of the underlying lung and the contralateral lung. The mortality rates were low in the first 28 days (3/70) but subsequently increased and exceeded 80% in the period between 60 and 120 days. This experimental model of pleurodesis should be useful in future studies directed toward uncovering the mechanisms of pleurodesis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Instillation, Drug
  • Male
  • Mitoxantrone / administration & dosage*
  • Mitoxantrone / toxicity
  • Pleura / drug effects*
  • Pleural Effusion / chemically induced
  • Pleural Effusion / chemistry
  • Pleural Effusion / pathology
  • Pleurodesis* / mortality
  • Rabbits
  • Time Factors


  • Mitoxantrone