Vitronectin is an adhesive glycoprotein that is present in plasma and the extracellular matrix. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) is characterized by pulmonary inflammation and damage to the extracellular matrix. Perhaps reflecting this, fibronectin has been found to be elevated in the lower respiratory tract of subjects with HP. Vitronectin, like fibronectin, binds to both extracellular matrix components and cells and may mediate tissue remodeling. Thus, it was investigated whether vitronectin might be increased in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid of patients with HP. Vitronectin and, for comparison, fibronectin were measured in BAL fluid from 16 patients with HP and nine healthy control subjects by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Vitronectin was significantly increased in the HP group (658.4 ± 121.8 ng/ml) compared with the controls (58.4 ± 11.1 ng/ml, p < 0.001) and was found to be positively correlated with fibronectin. Patients whose last antigenic exposure was 4 or fewer days before the BAL had statistically significantly higher BAL vitronectin and fibronectin than did patients whose last exposure was 5 or more days before the BAL. The serum vitronectin levels did not differ. There was no significant relationship between the lavage fluid vitronectin and fibronectin levels and the BAL cell profile in HP. This study confirms that vitronectin, like fibronectin, is a normal constituent of the lower respiratory tract, and demonstrates that vitronectin is elevated in the lower respiratory tract of patients with HP and may play a role in tissue remodeling and fibrosis in this disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine