Lung structure at preterm and term birth

Woods, Jason C.; Schittny, Johannes (2016). Lung structure at preterm and term birth. In: Jobe, Alan; Shitsett, Jeffrey; Abman, Steven (eds.) Fetal and Neonatal Lung Development. Clinical Correlates and Technologies for the Future (pp. 124-139). New York: Cambridge University Press

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When lung development is not interrupted by premature birth and unaffected by genetic or environmental
disturbances, all components develop with complex control to form a functional organ with a
predictable timeline during fetal development. In this chapter we describe the relationship between
morphological development and function in both physiological and pathological conditions in human
lung development. Tree-like growth of the lung begins during the first few weeks postconception, with
the embryonic stage characterized by branching morphogenesis in both the airways and blood vessels,
separately in the left and right lung buds, which appear near day 26 postcoitus (p.c.). Branching
continues through the embryonic stage, with proliferation of mesenchymal and epithelial cells and
apoptosis near branch points and in the areas of new formation. The pseudoglandular stage (weeks
5–17 p.c.) is characterized by accelerated cellular proliferation and airway and vascular branching, with
epithelial differentiation in proximal and distal airways. Further epithelial differentiation, angiogenesis
of the parenchymal capillary network, and the first formation of the air–blood barrier characterize the
canalicular stage (16–26 weeks p.c.), just before the completion of branching morphogenesis (saccular
stage, weeks 24–38 p.c.) and the start of alveolarization (week 36 through adolescence).

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Schittny, Johannes


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Cambridge University Press




Johannes Schittny

Date Deposited:

13 Jul 2016 15:26

Last Modified:

28 Nov 2020 02:26




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