CIBA Foundation Symposium on Pulmonary Structure and Function

By A. V. S. De Reuck; Maeve O'Connor | Go to book overview

CELLULAR STRUCTURE AND MUCUS ACTIVITY IN THE BRONCHIAL TREE AND ALVEOLI

H. HAYEK Institute of Anatomy, University of Vienna

THE term "mucus activity" in the title of this paper should, strictly speaking, be replaced by "secretory activity", because in the bronchial lumen we find not only mucus (mucopolysaccharides), but also proteins and nucleic acids. There is an astonishingly high number of bronchial glands and, especially in membrane preparations, the glands are seen to lie very close to each other. The glands are mixed glands with muco-serous secretion. The secretory granules in the cells of the demilunes are metachromatic when stained with toluidine blue ( Burkl, 1953a). Round the ampullae of the secretory ducts of the bronchial glands we often find lymphoid tissue with lymphocytes entering the epithelium; the lymphocytes may be passing through the epithelium in the lumen of the ducts and so in the secreta.

The same relation of epithelium and lymphocytes is found in diverticula of smaller bronchi and of bronchioles, where the lymphoid tissue is often surrounded by anthracotic tissue. Where lymphocytes have entered it, the epithelium is transformed into cuboidal epithelium, whereas on the other wall of the diverticulum the epithelium is ciliated and contains goblet cells. These diverticula with lymphoid tissue are structures on the borderline of the pathological and the normal. They deliver a large amount of the lymphocytes found in the mucus of bronchi and trachea.

Another kind of mucus is produced by the goblet cells found in the ciliated epithelium of the bronchi but not in the bronchioles.

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