2018 Volume 80 Issue 2 Pages 323-332
The host defense system with lysozyme and secretory phospholipase A2 (sPLA2) was immunohistochemically investigated in rat respiratory tract under healthy conditions. In the nasal epithelium, a large number of non-ciliated and non-microvillous cells (NC) and a small number of goblet cells (GC) were immunopositive for lysozyme and sPLA2. A few acinar cells and almost all epithelial cells of intercalated ducts were immunopositive for both bactericidal substances in the nasal glands. In the laryngeal and tracheal epithelia, few NC and GC were immunopositive for both bactericidal substances. In the laryngeal and tracheal glands, a few acinar cells and most ductal epithelial cells were immunopositive for both bactericidal substances. In extra-pulmonary bronchus, small numbers of NC and GC were immunopositive for lysozyme and sPLA2, whereas few NC and no GC were immunopositive in the intra-pulmonary bronchus. No secretory source of either bactericidal substance was located in the bronchioles. In the alveolus, many glandular epithelial cells and alveolar macrophages were immunopositive for lysozyme but immunonegative for sPLA2. Moreover, lysozyme and sPLA2 were detected in the mucus layer and in the periciliary layer from the nose to the extra-pulmonary bronchus. These findings suggest that secretory sources of lysozyme and sPLA2 are distributed in almost all the respiratory tract. Their secretory products are probably transported to the pharynx and contribute to form the first line of defense against inhaled bacteria throughout the respiratory tract.