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J Perinatol. 2011 Apr;31(4):230-5. doi: 10.1038/jp.2010.134.

Clinical implication of lung fluid balance in the perinatal period.

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Pediatric Pulmonary Division, Meyer Children's Hospital of Haifa, Haifa, Israel.


At birth, lung fluid produced during fetal life must be cleared immediately and efficiently before the first breath takes place, in order for infants to achieve a normal and successful transition from prenatal to postnatal life. Postnatal lung fluid resorption is mediated through activation of airway epithelial sodium channels (ENaC). The observation that ENaC expression is a gestational age-dependent process contributes to our understanding of the development of respiratory distress in both term and preterm infants due to impaired clearing of fluid from their lungs. As fluid absorption, mediated by ENaC activity, in postnatal life has a significant biological role in preventing respiratory distress, any strategy that enhances ENaC activity can potentially help to decrease its incidence and associated morbidity.

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