Ten patients with rheumatoid arthritis were evaluated by bronchoalveolar lavage. Five patients (group I) had interstitial lung disease by physiological and radiographic criteria, whereas five (group II) had no evidence of lung disease. Lavage fluid from four of the five group I patients contained an active collagenase which by inhibitory profile and substrate specificity appeared to be of neutrophil origin. None of the group II patients demonstrated lavage fluid collagenase. Treatment of lavage fluid with trypsin failed to uncover latent collagenase activity in either group, suggesting that the collagenase is present entirely in an active form. These findings parallel those observed in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and suggest a potential pathogenetic role for collagenase in rheumatoid interstitial lung disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)