Cellular sequence of tracheal repair in sheep after smoke inhalation injury

Robert E. Barrow, Cheng Zhong Wang, Robert A. Cox, Michael J. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The cellular repair process of injured tracheal epithelium is described for sheep after exposure to toxic smoke containing high concentrations of acrolein. Fourteen fasted 3–4-year-old ewes had a portion of their cervical trachea exposed to cotton smoke for 20 min and then were sacrificed at various time intervals ranging from 1 to 22 days after exposure. Within 1 day of injury, columnar epithelium sloughed intact from the trachea with a concomitant reduction of nearly 35% in the basal cell population. At 2 days of recovery, the cellularity of the epithelium had increased and mitotic figures were observed in some tracheal epithelial and gland cells. By 8 days, undifferentiated hyperplastic cells increased to 30/100 µm, differentiated nonciliated columnar cells first appeared, and the basal cell population returned to a normal count of 13 cells/100µm. Thirteen days after exposure, the undifferentiated hyperplastic cell population had declined to 7 cells/100/ µm, nonciliated columnar cells were at control values, and some ciliated cells were identified. At 18 and 22 days, epithelium was normal in appearance and the count was 13 cells/100µm. Data suggest that because the columnar epithelium sloughs intact with the cilia remaining active, toxic smoke may affect their attachment to the basal lamina. Furthermore, the regeneration process involves differentiation of hyperplastic cells in which they elongate down to the basal lamina, thus re-establishing the integrity of tall, epithelium in the sheep trachea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-338
Number of pages8
JournalLung: An International Journal on Lungs, Airways and Breathing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Basal cells
  • Cell regeneration
  • Ciliated cells
  • Toxic smoke injury
  • Tracheal epithelium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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