Human lung explants have been maintained in vitro for a period of 25 days. Autoradiographic studies indicated that the broncholar epithelial cells, type 2 alveolar epithelial cells, and stromal fibroblasts incorporated 3H-thymidine during the culture. After 7 to 10 days, type 2 cells were the predominant alveolar epithelial cell type. Lamellar inclusion bodies were released from the type 2 cells and accumulated in the alveolar spaces. The metabolism of benzo[alpha]pyrene (BP) in human lung explants cultured for up to 7 days was investigated. Human lung explants had measurable aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase activity and could metabolize BP into forms that were bound to cellular DNA and protein. Peripheral lung had significantly lower aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase activity than cultured bronchus but both tissues had similar binding levels of BP to DNA. Radioautographic studies indicated that all cell types in the peripheral lung can metabolize BP. The major ethylacetate extractable metabolites of BP formed by peripheral lung were tetrols and trans-7,8-diol. The primary water-soluble metabolite released with arylsulfatase and beta-glucuronidase was 3-hydroxybenzo[alpha]pyrene.
Laboratory Investigation, 1978, Vol 38, Issue 6, p. 658-692