Comparative analysis of the mechanical signals in lung development and compensatory growth

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This review compares the manner in which physical stress imposed on the parenchyma, vasculature and thorax and the thoraco-pulmonary interactions, drive both developmental and compensatory lung growth. Re-initiation of anatomical lung growth in the mature lung is possible when the loss of functioning lung units renders the existing physiologic-structural reserves insufficient for maintaining adequate function and physical stress on the remaining units exceeds a critical threshold. The appropriate spatial and temporal mechanical interrelationships and the availability of intra-thoracic space, are crucial to growth initiation, follow-on remodeling and physiological outcome. While the endogenous potential for compensatory lung growth is retained and may be pharmacologically augmented, supra-optimal mechanical stimulation, unbalanced structural growth, or inadequate remodeling may limit functional gain. Finding ways to optimize the signal–response relationships and resolve structure-function discrepancies are major challenges that must be overcome before the innate compensatory ability could be fully realized. Partial pneumonectomy reproducibly removes a known fraction of functioning lung units and remains the most robust model for examining the adaptive mechanisms, structure–function consequences and plasticity of the remaining functioning lung units capable of regeneration. Fundamental mechanical stimulus–response relationships established in the pneumonectomy model directly inform the exploration of effective approaches to maximize compensatory growth and function in chronic destructive lung diseases, transplantation and bioengineered lungs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)687-705
Number of pages19
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Lung development
  • Lung regeneration
  • Mechanical stress
  • Mechanotransduction
  • Pneumonectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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