Performance and immune characteristics of bronchoalveolar lavage by research bronchoscopy in pulmonary tuberculosis and other lung diseases in the Western Cape, South Africa
CITATION: Young, C., et al. 2019. Performance and immune characteristics of bronchoalveolar lavage by research bronchoscopy in pulmonary tuberculosis and other lung diseases in the Western Cape, South Africa. Translational Medicine Communications, 4:7, doi:10.1186/s41231-019-0039-2.
The original publication is available at https://transmedcomms.biomedcentral.com
Background: Tuberculosis (TB) remains a debilitating, deadly disease that warrants innovative research tools to fully understand the pathogenesis and host immune responses, particularly at the site of infection and disease. In this regard, bronchoscopies with bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) serve as a valuable technique for site of disease sample retrieval for further clinical- and basic research. Here we investigate the feasibility of research bronchoscopies in a low/middle-income area, where TB remains rife, and assess the value of retrieved BAL cells (BALC) for downstream fluorescent-based cellular evaluations. Methods: Using quantitative and qualitative methods, we evaluate the outcomes, safety, tolerability, participant -perception and -experience, while also providing insight into participant recruitment and screening processes of our study. Using light microscopy differential counting for BALC analysis, we evaluate the cellular composition of BAL fluid (BALF) from TB patients, healthy community controls and patients with other lung diseases. We also use flow cytometry to describe the challenges associated with fluorescence-based phenotypic analysis of autofluorescent BALC. Results: Our findings suggest that research bronchoscopies are safe, acceptable procedures for research participants and are indeed a feasible technique for future study design. We also suggest that the majority of participants are receptive to the proposition of a second research bronchoscopy. This poses an important avenue for research entailing follow-up investigations of the same study participant. Furthermore, our results show that smoking is characterized by retrieval of BALC containing particulate matter, that interferes with fluorescence-based flow cytometry data analysis. Based on light microscopy differential cell counting, our findings suggest that there are differences in the cell yields and cellular composition of the BALF between TB patients, healthy community controls and patients with other lung diseases. We also report on subject characteristics and demographic factors, namely gender and age, that have the potential to affect cell yields and cellular data of BALF. Conclusions: These findings will serve as a valuable reference for appropriate planning and design of studies involving clinical bronchoscopies for TB and lung disease research.