Immunohistochemical demonstration of Clara cell antigen in lung tumors of bronchiolar origin induced by N-nitrosodiethylamine in Syrian golden hamsters

S. Rehm, M. Takahashi, J. M. Ward, Gurmukh Singh, S. L. Katyal, J. R. Henneman

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43 Scopus citations


Both alveolar type II cells and Clara cells have been suggested as cells of origin of human bronchioloalveolar lung carcinomas and other pulmonary neoplasms, based on the presence of cell specific markers identified by immunocytochemical methods. Alveolar type II cell origin of solid and papillary lung tumors of the mouse has been demonstrated, and Clara cells have been suggested as cell of origin for hamster pulmonary neoplasms. Therefore, chemically induced bronchiolar hyperplasias and pulmonary neoplasms of Syrian golden hamsters were analyzed by avidin-biotin immunohistochemistry to localize a hamster-specific Clara cell antigen (CCA) and keratin. The hamsters had been treated subcutaneously with multiple doses of N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA). Proliferative lesions of low cuboidal, tall columnar, or pleomorphic cells were present within bronchioles or adjacent to airways in the alveolar parenchyma. Frequently areas of squamous cell differentiation were present focally or diffusely that were immunoreactive for cytokeratin. Immunoreactivity for cytokeratin was also noted for hyperplastic bronchiolar neuroepithelial bodies. Cellular hyperplasias extending out into the alveolar parenchyma contained ciliated cells and frequently consisted of cells immunoreactive for CCA, showing them to be of bronchiolar Clara cell origin. Tumors developed from bronchiolar cell hyperplasias localized within bronchioles and from bronchiolar cells lining former alveolar walls. Neoplastic growth patterns were tubulo-papillary, forming loose networks or densely cellular areas. Immunoreactivity for cytoplasmic CCA was found in 50% of the tumors and was seen most frequently in small cuboidal cells and larger, vacuolated cells scattered throughout the neoplasms. In summary, evidence is presented that NDEA-induced pulmonary tumors of the Syrian golden hamster originated from cells lining bronchioles and from extrabronchiolar Clara cell hyperplasias of the terminal bronchioles. As the pulmonary tumors of the hamsters progressed towards a squamoid cell type, CCA was no longer detectable but cells became immunoreactive for keratin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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