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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1987 Sep;63(3):1185-94.

Collagen and elastin fibers in human pulmonary alveolar mouths and ducts.

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Department of AMES/Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093.


To provide a quantitative basis for the understanding of the mechanical properties of the lung tissue, the morphology of the pulmonary alveolar ducts was studied and the dimensions of the collagen and elastin fiber bundles in the alveolar mouths were measured. Statistical data are presented in this report. It was found that the probability frequency functions of the widths of both the collagen and elastin fibers are skewed to the right, but the fourth roots of the widths are normally distributed. Hence, knowing the mean and standard deviation of (width)1/4, the probability of finding fiber bundles of width D is known. On the other hand, we already know the analytic expressions of the strain energy per unit length of fibers of given width. With the probability distribution of width and an estimation of the length of alveolar mouths, the strain energy of the alveolar mouths can be computed. Then the contribution of the alveolar mouths to the stress in the lung parenchyma due to any strain can be obtained by a differentiation of the strain energy function with respect to that strain.

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