The lymphatic vessels of the lung provide an important route for clearance of interstitial edema fluid filtered from pulmonary blood vessels. However, the importance of lung lymphatics for the removal of airway liquid filtered from the systemic circulation of the lung has not been demonstrated. We studied the contribution of the bronchial vasculature to lung lymph flow in anesthetized, ventilated sheep (n = 35). With the bronchial artery cannulated and perfused (control flow = 0.6 ml · min-1 · kg-1), lymph flow from the efferent duct of the caudal mediastinal lymph node was measured 1) during increased bronchial vascular perfusion (300% of control flow); 2) with a hydrated interstitium induced by a 1-h period of left atrial hypertension and subsequent recovery, both with and without bronchial perfusion; and 3) during infusion (directly into the bronchial artery) of bradykinin, an inflammatory mediator known to cause changes in bronchial vascular permeability. Increased bronchial perfusion for 90 min resulted in an average 35% increase in lung lymph flow. During left atrial hypertension, the increase in lung lymph flow was significantly greater with bronchial perfusion (339% increase over baseline) than without bronchial perfusion (138% increase). Furthermore, recovery after left atrial hypertension was more complete after 90 min without bronchial perfusion (91%) than with bronchial perfusion (63%). Infusion of bradykinin into the bronchial artery resulted in a prompt and prolonged 107% increase in lung lymph flow. This was not seen if the same dose was infused into the pulmonary artery. Thus bronchial vascular transudate contributes significantly to lymph flow from the efferent duct of the caudal mediastinal lymph node. These results demonstrate that lymph vessels clear excess fluid from the airway wall and should be considered when evaluating the effect of vascular leak in airway obstruction.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physiology (medical)