Determining deposition sites of inhaled lung particles and their effect on clearance.
An essential component of lung defense is clearance of particulates and infectious vectors from the mucus membrane of the tracheobronchial tree and the alveolar regions of the lung. To partition clearance between these areas we determined the bronchial branching pattern, the anatomical sites of particle deposition, and subsequent clearance in the same animal. Using a 2.85-microns particle tagged with 57Co for inhalation and deposition in the sheep lung, we followed clearance via a series of computer-stored gamma-scintillation lung images. The same sheep was reinhaled, and the particle distributions for both inhalations were compared. After the animals were killed, the bronchial branching pattern and length of the bronchial tree were documented. The number of particles depositing in all bronchi down to 1 mm diam was determined by scintillation counting, and the number in respiratory bronchioles and alveoli was microscopically counted. We conclude that particles deposited in bronchi greater than or equal to 1 mm diam clear in 2-4 h postdeposition. Bronchi distal to 1-mm-diam bronchi and alveoli clear evenly over 72 h, and the number of particles equal to the tracheobronchial deposition cleared after 45 h.
Langenback, EG; Bergofsky, EH; Halpern, JG; Foster, WM
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