The lymphatic drainage of the lung has been used as a quantitation of pulmonary microvascular fluid flux in normal animals and after various forms of injury. This review supports the importance of the bronchial microvasculature in the formation of lung lymph. Proof that the lymph drainage of the lung comes from the pulmonary circuit has been based on the finding of an elevation of lymph flow when the pulmonary venous pressure is elevated. This proof is wanting since recent work demonstrates that the venous drainage of the intrapulmonary bronchi flows into the pulmonary vascular system at the precapillary level. The administration of endotoxin induces an elevation of lung lymph. The bronchial circuit may play a role in this response since it is likewise exposed to the high pulmonary pressures induced by endotoxin, and there is evidence that ischemia/reperfusion injury to the airway occurs with endotoxin administration. After acute lung injury from smoke inhalation, lung lymph flow is markedly elevated. The lymph drainage from the airway may play an important role in this response. Bronchial blood flow is markedly increased after inhalation injury and there is airway edema. The increases in lung lymph flow and extravascular lung water are markedly reduced by occlusion of the bronchial artery. These data support the need for additional study of the role of the bronchial circulation in the formation of lung lymph.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine