Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Translocation of inhaled particles from the alveolar spaces to lung parenchyma and lymph nodes is one of the mechanisms that determine the biopersistence of particles. This study compares the nonfibrous particulate burden in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluids, lung parenchyma, and thoracic lymph nodes and attempts to detect the degree of differentiation, if any, based on particle size or type. This comparison can only be done on BAL, lung parenchyma, and lymph node samples collected from the same subject over a short time. Patients undergoing surgical lung resection are suitable for this purpose. Particles recovered by digestion-filtration were counted, sized, and analyzed by analytical transmission electron microscopy. Total particle load ranges grossly between 10(5) to 10(7) p/ml in BAL, 10(9) to 10(10) p/g dry tissue in parenchyma and 10(10) to 10(11) p/g dry tissue in lymph nodes. Diameters are log-normally distributed and mean diameters range between 0.5 to 0.9 micron. Nonlamellar silicate particles have a significantly larger diameter in lymph nodes. Differences in particle type between the three sampling sites are small and nonsystematic.