Evaluation of particle translocation across the alveolo-capillary barrier in isolated perfused rabbit lung model

Abderrahim Nemmar, Julien Hamoir, Benoit Nemery, Pascal Gustin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Particulate air pollution is associated with respiratory and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. It has been suggested that ultrafine particles are able to translocate from the airways into the bloodstream in vivo. We have investigated this in an isolated perfused and ventilated rabbit lung preparation lacking pulmonary lymphatic flow. Fluorescent polystyrene particles of different diameters (24, 110 or 190 nm) and surface chemistry (carboxylate or amine modified) were injected either intratracheally (i.t.) or intravascularly (i.v.) and, after a period of 2 h, their presence in the perfusion liquid or in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid, was assessed by spectrofluorimetry. Vascular pressures and lung weights were monitored. Following the i.t. administration, no particle translocation was observed from the alveoli into the vascular compartment. Similarly, no particle translocation was found after i.v. administration of particles. However, when microvascular permeability was pharmacologically increased by administering histamine (10-4 M) in the vascular compartment, inducing a positive driving force provided by fluid filtration, a fluorescent signal in BAL was recorded (2.5 ± 1% of the dose of particles administered), suggesting a translocation of particles through the alveolo-capillary barrier. We conclude that ultrafine polystyrene particles cannot significantly diffuse from lung into the vascular compartment in our model, but they are able to translocate in the opposite direction when the microvascular permeability is increased by histamine. The relevance of these ex vivo findings for the in vivo translocation of inhaled ultrafine particles remains to be established.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-113
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Air pollution
  • Isolated perfused lung
  • Polystyrene particles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of particle translocation across the alveolo-capillary barrier in isolated perfused rabbit lung model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this