Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) are diffuse parenchymal lung diseases characterized by a mixture of inflammation and fibrosis, leading to lung destruction and finally death.
The aim of this study was to compare different pathophysiological mechanisms, such as angiogenesis, coagulation, fibrosis, tissue repair, inflammation, epithelial damage, oxidative stress, and matrix remodeling, in both disorders using bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL).
At diagnosis, patients underwent bronchoscopy with BAL and were divided into three groups: Control (n = 10), HP (n = 11), and IPF (n = 11), based on multidisciplinary approach (clinical examination, radiology, and histology): Multiplex searchlight technology was used to analyze 25 proteins representative for different pathophysiological processes: Eotaxin, basic fibroblast growth factor (FGFb), fibronectin, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), interleukine (IL)-8, IL-12p40, IL-17, IL-23, monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP-1), macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC), myeloperoxidase (MPO), matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-8, MMP-9, active plasminogen activating inhibitor 1 (PAI-1), pulmonary activation regulated chemokine (PARC), placental growth factor (PlGF), protein-C, receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE), regulated on activation normal T cells expressed and secreted (RANTES), surfactant protein-C (SP-C), transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1), tissue factor, thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).
All patients suffered from decreased pulmonary function and abnormal BAL cell differential compared with control. Protein levels were increased in both IPF and HP for MMP-8 (P = 0.022), MMP-9 (P = 0.0020), MCP-1 (P = 0.0006), MDC (P = 0.0048), IL-8 (P = 0.013), MPO (P = 0.019), and protein-C (P = 0.0087), whereas VEGF was decreased (P = 0.0003) compared with control. HGF was upregulated in HP (P = 0.0089) and active PAI-1 was upregulated (P = 0.019) in IPF compared with control. Differences in expression between IPF and HP were observed for IL-12p40 (P = 0.0093) and TGF-β1 (P = 0.0045).
Using BAL, we demonstrated not only expected similarities but also important differences in both disorders, many related to the innate immunity. These findings provide new clues for further research in both disorders.