Lung lymphatics increase after hyperoxic injury: An ultrastructural study of casts

Dean E. Schraufnagel*, Jaime Llopart Basterra, Kiriakos Hainis, Jacob Iasha Sznajder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The microscopic lymphatics of the lung can be cast and studied with scanning electron microscopy. This technique shows several different forms of lymphatics and the interstitial space that leads into lymphatics as no other method can. To study changes in lymphatic forms, rats were placed in 85% oxygen for 7 days to produce pulmonary edema. Methyl methacrylate resin was injected into the lung vasculature at various times after the animals were removed from hyperoxia. In the animals not exposed to hyperoxia, no artery, vein, or airway was surrounded by a lymphatic cast. However, in rats that were in the hyperoxic chamber, 22% of arteries, 30% of veins, and 51% of indeterminate blood vessels (which could be arteries or veins) were encompassed by saccular lymphatic casts. These lymphatics were still observed 7 days after recovery from hyperoxia. Fourteen days after hyperoxia, the lymphatics returned to control values. Only 9% of the pleural surface of the animals not exposed to hyperoxia had initial lymphatics. Fifty-two percent of the hyperoxia-exposed animals had initial lymphatics, measured 3 days after exposure. This decreased to 14% 14 days after exposure to hyperoxia (P < 0.01). Conduit lymphatics were found on the pleural surfaces of 33% of animals exposed to ambient air and 100% of animals exposed to the high- oxygen environment (P < 0.05). The median percentage of the pleural surface covered with lymphatics was 0 in the animals exposed to ambient air. It was 65% in animals exposed to hyperoxia, 3 days after returning to room air. It was again 0 in animals exposed to hyperoxia, 14 days after returning to room air (P < 0.001). The lymphatics around veins expanded more than around arteries (P < 0.0001). These results indicate that in the rat all compartments of the lung lymphatics expand after the injury and edema caused by oxygen and return to normal with the resolution of the edema.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1393-1402
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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