Granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor treatment improves alveolar epithelial barrier function in alcoholic rat lung

Andres Pelaez, Rabih I. Bechara, Pratibha C. Joshi, Lou Ann S. Brown, David M. Guidot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Chronic alcohol abuse increases the risk of developing acute lung injury approximately threefold in septic patients, and ethanol ingestion for 6 wk in rats impairs alveolar epithelial barrier function both in vitro and in vivo. Granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is a trophic factor for the alveolar epithelium, and a recent phase II clinical study suggests that GM-CSF therapy decreases sepsis-mediated lung injury. Therefore, we hypothesized that GM-CSF treatment could improve ethanol-mediated defects in the alveolar epithelium during acute stresses such as endotoxemia. In this study, we determined that recombinant rat GM-CSF improved lung liquid clearance (as reflected by lung tissue wet:dry ratios) in ethanol-fed rats anesthetized and then challenged with 2 ml of saline via a tracheostomy tube. Furthermore, GM-CSF treatment improved lung liquid clearance and decreased epithelial protein leak in both control-fed and ethanol-fed rats after 6 h of endotoxemia induced by Salmonella typhimurium lipopolysaccharide given intraperitoneally, but with the greater net effect seen in the ethanol-fed rats. Our previous studies indicate that chronic ethanol ingestion decreases lung liquid clearance by increasing intercellular permeability. Consistent with this, GM-CSF treatment in vitro decreased permeability of alveolar epithelial monolayers derived from both control-fed and ethanol-fed rats. As in the endotoxemia model in vivo, the effect of GM-CSF was most dramatic in the ethanol group. Together, these results indicate that GM-CSF treatment has previously unrecognized effects in promoting alveolar epithelial barrier integrity and that these salutary effects may be particularly relevant in the setting of chronic alcohol abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L106-L111
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number1 30-1
StatePublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • Epithelium
  • Glutathione
  • Sepsis
  • Surfactant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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