Plexiform Lesions in the Lungs of Domestic Fowl Selected for Susceptibility to Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension: Incidence and Histology

Robert F. Wideman, Krishna R. Hamal, Michael T. Bayona, Alberto G. Lorenzoni, David Cross, Fariborz Khajali, Douglas D. Rhoads, Gisela F. Erf, Nicholas B. Anthony

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Plexiform lesions develop in the pulmonary arteries of humans suffering from idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH). Plexogenic arteriopathy rarely develops in existing animal models of IPAH. In this study, plexiform lesions developed in the lungs of rapidly growing meat-type chickens (broiler chickens) that had been genetically selected for susceptibility to IPAH. Plexiform lesions developed spontaneously in: 42% of females and 40% of males; 35% of right lungs, and 45% of left lungs; and, at 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, and 52 weeks of age the plexiform lesion incidences averaged 52%, 50%, 51%, 40%, 36%, and 22%, respectively. Plexiform lesions formed distal to branch points in muscular interparabronchial pulmonary arteries exhibiting intimal proliferation. Perivascular mononuclear cell infiltrates consistently surrounded the affected arteries. Proliferating intimal cells fully or partially occluded the arterial lumen adjacent to plexiform lesions. Broilers reared in clean stainless steel cages exhibited a 50% lesion incidence that did not differ from the 64% incidence in flock mates grown on dusty floor litter. Microparticles (30 μm diameter) were injected to determine if physical occlusion and focal inflammation within distal pulmonary arteries might initiate plexiform lesion development. Three months postinjection no plexiform lesions were observed in the vicinity of persisting microparticles. Broiler chickens selected for innate susceptibility to IPAH represent a new animal model for investigating the mechanisms responsible for spontaneous plexogenic arteriopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)739-755
Number of pages17
JournalAnatomical Record
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Biotechnology
  • Histology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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