Preventing mediastinal shift after pneumonectomy impairs regenerative alveolar tissue growth

C. C W Hsia, E. Y. Wu, E. Wagner, E. R. Weibel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


To examine the effects of mechanical lung strain on regenerative growth of alveolar septal tissue after pneumonectomy (PNX), we replaced the right lungs of adult dogs with a custom-shaped inflatable silicone prosthesis. The prosthesis was either inflated (Inf) to maintain the mediastinum at the midline or deflated to allow mediastinal shift. The animals were euthanized ∼ 15 mo later, and the lungs were fixed at a constant distending pressure. With the Inf prostheses, lung expansion, alveolar septal tissue volumes, surface areas, and diffusing capacity of the tissue-plasma barrier were significantly lower than with the deflated prostheses; the expected post-PNX tissue responses were impaired by 30-60%. Capillary blood volume was significantly higher with Inf prostheses, consistent with microvascular congestion. Measurements in the Inf group remained consistently and significantly higher than those expected for a normal left lung, indicating persistence of partial compensation. In one dog, delayed deflation of the prosthesis 9-10 mo after PNX led to vigorous lung expansion and septal tissue growth, particularly of type II epithelial cells. We conclude that mechanical lung strain is a major signal for regenerative lung growth; however, other signals are also implicated, accounting for a significant fraction of the compensatory response to PNX.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L1279-L1287
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number5 25-5
StatePublished - 2001


  • Compensatory lung growth
  • Diffusing capacity
  • Dog
  • Lung resection
  • Lung strain
  • Mechanical strain
  • Mechanical stretch
  • Morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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