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Intriguing bronchoalveolar lavage proteome in a case of pulmonary langerhans cell histiocytosis

Unusual setting of medical care

Bijar Ghafouri, Lennart H. Persson, Christer Tagesson

Am J Case Rep 2013; 14:129-133

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.889037

Available online:

Published: 2013-04-29

Background: Pulmonary Langerhans cell histiocytosis (PLCH) is a rare interstitial lung disease associated with tobacco smoke exposure. New insights into its pathogenesis and how it differs from that of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may be provided by proteomic studies on bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF).
Case Report: We present the BALF proteome in a biopsy-proven case of PLCH and compare it with typical proteomes of COPD and of the healthy lung. The BALF proteins were separated by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE) and the protein patterns were analyzed with a computerized 2-DE imaging system. As compared to the healthy subject and the COPD case, the PLCH case showed a strikingly different 2-DE pattern. There was much more IgG (heavy chain) and orosomucoid, and less a1-antitrypsin, surfactant protein-A, haptoglobin, cystatin-S, Clara cell protein 10, transthyretin and gelsolin. Moreover, no apolipoprotein-A1, pro-apolipoprotein-A1, amyloid P, calgranulin A, or calgranulin B was detected at all.
Conclusions: This case of PLCH presents with an extreme BALF proteome lacking significant amounts of protective and anti-inflammatory proteins. Thus, the intriguing BALF proteome opens up new lines of research into the pathophysiology of PLCH and how its pathogenesis differs from that in COPD.

Keywords: BALF, COPD, Inflammation, Lung, tobacco smoke