OBJECTIVES: In this paper we study effects of irradiation to pulmonary tissue on a micro and ultrastructural level to get insights into the dynamics of morphological changes and associated post-radiative physiological conditions.
METHODS: Animal and human pulmonary tissue with and without radiation damage was subject to light, transmission, scanning and polarization microscopy and morphometric evaluation.
RESULTS: The present investigations on the influence of irradiation on experimental and human lung tissue demonstrate that complex changes are induced in the cells which are essential for mucociliary clearance. These changes are a shortage of alveolar macrophages, cell apoptosis, proliferation of collagen ligament in the barrier of gaseous exchange, retraction of endothelial lining of capillaries and significant broadening of the gaseous exchange barrier, resulting in serious damage for the O2 and CO2 exchange.
CONCLUSIONS: These changes at microscopic, cellular, and ciliary level trigger conditions for various diseases of the respiratory system, which is further assessed by a simultaneous computer aided estimation of ciliary function. With the concurrent world-wide increase of respiratory diseases, these findings are important knowledge for the clinical practice.