Compensatory alveolar growth normalizes gas-exchange function in immature dogs after pneumonectomy

Shin Ichi Takeda, Connie C W Hsia, Eva Wagner, Murugappan Ramanathan, Aaron S. Estrera, Ewald R. Weibel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


To determine the extent and sources of adaptive response in gas-exchange to major lung resection during somatic maturation, immature male foxhounds underwent right pneumonectomy (R-Pnx, n = 5) or right thoracotomy without pneumonectomy (Sham, n = 6) at 2 mo of age. One year after surgery, exercise capacity and pulmonary gas-exchange were determined during treadmill exercise. Lung diffusing capacity (DL) and cardiac output were measured by a rebreathing technique. In animals after R-Pnx, maximal O2 uptake, lung volume, arterial blood gases, and DL during exercise were completely normal. Postmortem morphometric analysis 18 mo after R-Pnx (n = 3) showed a vigorous compensatory increase in alveolar septal tissue volume involving all cellular compartments of the septum compared with the control lung; as a result, alveolar-capillary surface areas and DL estimated by morphometry were restored to normal. In both groups, estimates of DL by the morphometric method agreed closely with estimates obtained by the physiological method during peak exercise. These data show that extensive lung resection in immature dogs stimulates a vigorous compensatory growth of alveolar tissue in excess of maturational lung growth, resulting in complete normalization of aerobic capacity and gas-exchange function at maturity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1301-1310
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1999


  • Exercise
  • Lung diffusing capacity
  • Lung growth
  • Morphometry
  • Rebreathing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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