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Eur Respir J. 2008 Mar;31(3):515-22. Epub 2007 Nov 21.

Neoalveolarisation contributes to compensatory lung growth following pneumonectomy in mice.

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Clinic of Internal Medicine, Clinical Research Group, Philips University, Marburg, Germany.


Regeneration of the gas exchange area by induction of neoalveolarisation would greatly improve therapeutic options in destructive pulmonary diseases. Unilateral pneumonectomy is an established model to remove defined portions of gas exchange area and study mechanisms of compensatory lung growth. The question of whether new alveoli are added to the residual lung after pneumonectomy in mice was addressed. Left-sided pneumonectomy was performed in 11 adult C57BL/6 mice. Alveolar numbers were analysed in lungs fixed at days 6 and 20 after pneumonectomy and in 10 age-matched controls using design-based stereology based on a physical fractionator. Post-fixation lung volume was determined by fluid displacement. Complete restoration of lung volume was observed 20 days after pneumonectomy. Alveolar numbers were significantly increased by 33% in residual right lungs at day 20 in comparison with control right lungs. In control left lungs, an average of 471+/-162 x 10(3) alveoli was estimated, 49% of which were regenerated by residual lungs at day 20. Of the newly formed alveoli seen at day 20, 74% were already present at day 6. The present data demonstrate that, in addition to growth in size of existing alveoli, neoalveolarisation contributes to restoration of the gas exchange area in adult mice and is induced early after pneumonectomy.

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