Both allogeneic immunocompetent CD4+ lymphocytes and activated macrophages of mice can induce neovascularization when inoculated intradermally into host animals. Because sarcoidosis is associated with an increase in both activated macrophages and CD4+ effector lymphocytes in the lung, we carried out experiments in which cells obtained by bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) of patients with pulmonary sarcoidosis were tested in a murine intradermal angiogenesis assay. BAL cells from patients with pulmonary sarcoidosis induced a significantly greater degree of angiogenesis than those from normal volunteers or from patients with other lung diseases. Moreover, the degree of angiogenesis induced by BAL cells from patients with sarcoidosis correlated positively with the severity of the disease. When BAL cells were separated into macrophage and lymphocyte subpopulations by flow cytometric techniques, the observed angiogenic activity was restricted primarily or exclusively to macrophages; lymphocytes were unable to induce angiogenesis in this xenogeneic assay system. These experiments suggest that pulmonary macrophages may play a role in the pathogenesis of sarcoidosis by inducing changes in the pulmonary microvasculature. Moreover, we hypothesize that these vascular changes may be induced not only in the lung but also in other organ systems such as skin, muscle, and eye in which microangiopathies are associated with sarcoid disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine