Bleomycin-induced interstitial pulmonary disease in the nude, athymic mouse.
Evidence from divergent sources suggests that some forms of interstitial pulmonary disease are associated with abnormalities of the cellular immune system. To evaluate whether cellular immune processes are necessary determinants for the development of parenchymal alveolitis and fibrosis secondary to bleomycin, we examined the effect of bleomycin on the NIH, outbred white mouse as compared to the homozygous nude, athymic mouse on the NIH outbred background. The nude mouse has virtually no detectable cell-mediated immune function; we therefore hypothesized that if this component of the immune system were necessary for the development of bleomycin-induced interstitial disease, bleomycin would not induce the same pulmonary lesion in the nude mouse as in the white mouse. However, both white and nude mice developed alveolitis and fibrosis after intraperitoneal administration of bleomycin. Comparison of the frequency and severity of these lesions in the 2 groups revealed no significant differences. These findings suggest that the presence of an intact cell-mediated immune system is not an absolute requirement for the development of bleomycin-induced interstitial disease in the mouse. To the extent that this model is an appropriate approximation of human bleomycin-induced pulmonary disease, these results are consistent with the hypothesis that T-lymphocyte mediated processes are not primary determinants of this lesion.