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Elevated levels of soluble TNF receptors in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid in extrinsic allergic alveolitis


Costabel Ruhrlandklinik, Tüschener Weg 40, D-45239 Essen, Germany.



Soluble TNF receptors (sTNFR1 and sTNFR2) are inhibitors of TNF and can block TNF bioactivity. TNF plays an important role in the development of extrinsic allergic alveolitis (EAA).


To evaluate whether sTNFR1 and sTNFR2 are locally increased in EAA.


We measured sTNFR1 and sTNFR2 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and serum from nine EAA patients and 11 control subjects using an ELISA method.


BALF sTNFR1 and sTNFR2 levels were 0.24 ± 0.04 ng/mL and 0.59 ± 0.16 ng/mL in EAA patients, and thus significantly elevated in comparison with the controls (0.13 ± 0.02 ng/mL and 0.08 ± 0.04 ng/mL, both P < 0.05). Serum sTNFR levels were not significantly different between the two groups. Both sTNFR1 and sTNFR2 concentrations in BALF correlated significantly with the lymphocyte percentage of BALF (r = 0.57 and 0.81, respectively).


The two alveolar sTNFRs, particularly sTNFR2, may be involved in the pathogenesis of EAA as counter-regulators of TNF.