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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2013 Jan 15;304(2):L125-34. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.00226.2012. Epub 2012 Nov 9.

Accelerated structural decrements in the aging female rhesus macaque lung compared with males.

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California National Primate Research Center, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Aging is associated with morphometric changes in the lung that lead to decreased lung function. The nonhuman primate lung has been shown to have similar architectural, morphological, and developmental patterns to that of humans. We hypothesized that the lungs of rhesus monkeys age in a pattern similar to human lungs. Thirty-four rhesus monkeys from the California National Primate Research Center were euthanized, necropsied, and the whole lungs sampled. Stereological analysis was performed to assess the morphological changes associated with age. The number of alveoli declined significantly from age 9 to 33 yr with a greater decline in females compared with males. Lungs of females contained roughly 20% more alveoli at age 9 yr than males, but by ∼30 yr of age, females had 30% fewer alveoli than males. The volume of alveolar air also showed a significant linear decrease in females relative to age, while males did not. The number-weighted mean volume of alveoli showed a significant positive correlation with age in females but not in males. The volume of alveolar duct showed a significant positive correlation with age in females, but not in males. Structural decrements due to aging in the lung were increased in the female compared with male rhesus monkey.

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