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Nat Commun. 2019 Jan 3;10(1):37. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-07770-1.

Single cell RNA analysis identifies cellular heterogeneity and adaptive responses of the lung at birth.

Author information

1
Division of Pulmonary Biology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, 45229, OH, USA.
2
Division of Developmental Biology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, 45229, OH, USA.
3
Division of Pulmonary Biology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, 45229, OH, USA. Jeffrey.Whitsett@cchmc.org.
4
Division of Pulmonary Biology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, 45229, OH, USA. Yan.Xu@cchmc.org.
5
Division of Biomedical Informatics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, 45229, OH, USA. Yan.Xu@cchmc.org.

Abstract

The respiratory system undergoes a diversity of structural, biochemical, and functional changes necessary for adaptation to air breathing at birth. To identify the heterogeneity of pulmonary cell types and dynamic changes in gene expression mediating adaptation to respiration, here we perform single cell RNA analyses of mouse lung on postnatal day 1. Using an iterative cell type identification strategy we unbiasedly identify the heterogeneity of murine pulmonary cell types. We identify distinct populations of epithelial, endothelial, mesenchymal, and immune cells, each containing distinct subpopulations. Furthermore we compare temporal changes in RNA expression patterns before and after birth to identify signaling pathways selectively activated in specific pulmonary cell types, including activation of cell stress and the unfolded protein response during perinatal adaptation of the lung. The present data provide a single cell view of the adaptation to air breathing after birth.

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