Zymosan-induced experimental hypersensitivity pneumonitis in rabbits
Alveolitis, Extrinsic Allergic
An experimental model of hypersensitivity pneumonitis is presented. New Zealand white rabbits, previously immunized against yeast-derived zymosan, reacted to intratracheal challenge developing extensive pneumonitis. The lesions healed in a few weeks. Control animals challenged with inert particulate material (latex beads) or suspending fluid (PBS-Mg++) did not show pulmonary inflammation. Nonimmunized rabbits developed only transient pneumonitis after zymosan challenge. This reaction was clearly different from that seen in the group of immunized animals. The model reveals that biologically active substances such as zymosan, which is able to activate the alternate pathway of complement and mononuclear phagocytes, requires an active immune state in order to cause significant tissue damage. Isolated exposure to this kind of substance may not be sufficient to cause lung disease.