Pulmonary bombesin and calcitonin in hamsters during exposure to hyperoxia and diethylnitrosamine.

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



American journal of respiratory cell and molecular biology








Combined exposure of hamsters to 60% hyperoxia and the carcinogen diethylnitrosamine for 6 wk resulted in the development of lung tumors. This was associated with progressive loss of body weight as well as increases in the pulmonary-associated peptides, mammalian bombesin (MB) and immunoreactive calcitonin (iCT). After 3 wk of exposure, multiple bronchial epithelial hyperplastic foci were noted, along with increased lung levels of MB and iCT as well as increased serum levels of MB. At this time, immunocytochemistry revealed the presence of MB and iCT within hyperplastic pulmonary neuroendocrine (PNE) cells. In addition, the localization of MB to alveolar type II cells was noted, along with the presence of lamellar bodies and secretion granules in these cells on electron microscopy. After 6 wk of exposure, distinctive microscopic pulmonary tumorlets were seen. These tumorlets were associated with a marked increase in lung and serum MB, and to a lesser extent lung and serum iCT. At this time, MB and iCT were localized exclusively to these abnormal PNE cell sites. These results, which may have relevance in humans, suggest that endogenous peptides may be important components in the process of development of neuroendocrine cancer.