Evidence and structural mechanism for late lung alveolarization

Schittny, Johannes C; Mund, Sonja I; Stampanoni, Marco (2008). Evidence and structural mechanism for late lung alveolarization. American journal of physiology - lung cellular and molecular physiology, 294(2), L246-54. Bethesda, Md.: American Physiological Society 10.1152/ajplung.00296.2007

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According to the current view, the formation of new alveolar septa from preexisting ones ceases due to the reduction of a double- to a single-layered capillaries network inside the alveolar septa (microvasculature maturation postnatal days 14-21 in rats). We challenged this view by measuring stereologically the appearance of new alveolar septa and by studying the alveolar capillary network in three-dimensional (3-D) visualizations obtained by high-resolution synchrotron radiation X-ray tomographic microscopy. We observed that new septa are formed at least until young adulthood (rats, days 4-60) and that roughly half of the new septa are lifted off of mature septa containing single-layered capillary networks. At the basis of newly forming septa, we detected a local duplication of the capillary network. We conclude that new alveoli may be formed in principle at any time and at any location inside the lung parenchyma and that lung development continues into young adulthood. We define two phases during developmental alveolarization. Phase one (days 4-21), lifting off of new septa from immature preexisting septa, and phase two (day 14 through young adulthood), formation of septa from mature preexisting septa. Clinically, our results ask for precautions using drugs influencing structural lung development during both phases of alveolarization.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Anatomy > Functional Anatomy

UniBE Contributor:

Schittny, Johannes and Mund, Sonja






American Physiological Society




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:55

Last Modified:

04 May 2014 23:16

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Web of Science ID:



https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/23548 (FactScience: 42276)

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