Navigation Links
University of Leicester study fundamentally alters our understanding of lung growth

A ground-breaking international study into the ways lungs grow and develop has challenged existing medical understanding that our lungs are completely formed by the age of three.

The researchers, led by a team at the University of Leicester, put forward a theory for the first time based on research evidence that new air sacs, called alveoli, are constantly being formed. This contradicts information in most medical textbooks that explain that the tiny air sacs begin to develop before birth (around the 6th month of pregnancy) and continue to increase in number until the age of about 3 years.

Dr. Manjith Narayanan, one of the leaders of the study from the University of Leicester, said: "It was believed that there was no further increase in the number of alveoli beyond that age, and that the existing alveoli just expanded as the lungs grew bigger until final adult size was reached."

"Our study has challenged this by suggesting that new alveoli continue to be formed as the lungs grow."

The study, published online ahead of print in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, was a collaboration between researchers in the Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, University of Leicester, the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nottingham, and the University of Bern. It was funded by The Wellcome Trust1.

The researchers studied over 100 healthy volunteers aged between 7 and 21 years. Each volunteer had a range of breathing tests in Leicester, and was then accompanied to Nottingham for a special magnetic resonance (MR) scan, during which they breathed in hyperpolarised helium and held their breaths.

Dr. Narayanan, a Clinical Research Fellow, explains:

"The helium is hyperpolarised, which means that the molecules all line up in one direction and it then behaves like a magnetised gas. Within the scanner, we can measure how the magnetism decays, and this in turn depends on the size of the air sacs alveoli which contain the helium. The technique is safe and not painful or uncomfortable in any way."

Senior Lecturer at Leicester Dr. Caroline Beardsmore describes the study:

"We studied small children, whose lungs contain approximately one litre of air, and full-grown adults with lung volumes of around four litres. We found very little difference in the size of the alveoli across everyone we studied. If the size of the alveoli are hardly changing, this can only mean one thing as our lungs increase in size, we must be growing new alveoli."

Professor Mike Silverman, Emeritus Professor of Child Health at Leicester, adds:

"This research has important implications. If we can continue to develop new alveoli beyond early childhood, going on through adolescence, there is the potential for lung repair following injury that was never realised before. Conversely, external factors (possibly including inhaled pollution) could have a negative impact on lung development. We now have the basis for looking at many factors with the potential to impact on lung health in the future."

Contact: Dr. Manjith Narayanan
University of Leicester

Related medicine news :

1. University of Virginia Health System Medical Laboratories Selects Sunquest's Specimen Collection Solution
2. Akron Institute of Herzing University Launches Its First Bachelors Degree Programs to Prepare Students for Even Greater Success in Business, Health Care and IT
3. Most pandemic plans in Ontario hospitals have not been tested: Queens University study
4. San Diego State University and BIOCOM Institute Receive $4.95 Million Grant: The BRIDGE Project, Linking Education to Employment in San Diegos Life Sciences Industry
5. Smithsonian Institution, Arizona State University announce education and research partnership
6. Untreated poor vision in elderly linked to dementia, University of Michigan study shows
7. Giarmarco, Mullins & Horton, P.C. President Joseph F. Page to Speak at University of Michigan
8. Arizona State Universitys Decision Theater offers balance to an off-kilter world
9. Forest City Announces Joint Venture with Health Care REIT for University Park Life Science Properties
10. Herzing University Online Launches Master and Bachelor of Science Degrees in Nursing
11. Nurtur Acquires ActivHealth and Wellness by Choice; Gains Exclusive Partnership with Duke University Center for Living
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
University of Leicester study fundamentally alters our understanding of lung growth
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... November 28, 2015 , ... Safe storage for contraceptive ... two inventors, one from Lakewood, New Jersey and the other from Bradley Beach, New ... PROTECTOR to save the expense of having to replace NuvaRings more often than necessary. ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Canada (PRWEB) , ... November 28, 2015 , ... There ... do we outperform our billings from last year? , This question has not been ... organizations are coming to the retirement age and the younger workforce don’t share the ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... The rapid speed at which ... age, more care is needed, especially with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other cognitive conditions ... overworked. The forgotten part of this equation: 80 percent of medical care occurs ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 27, 2015 , ... Lizzie’s Lice Pickers just announced a special promotion that ... of their purchase of lice treatment product. In addition, customers will receive a complimentary ... spokesperson. “Finding lice is a sure way to ruin the holidays, so we encourage ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... through sharing, the 2016 Building Better Radiology Marketing Programs meeting will ... on Sunday, March 6, 2016, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas with a ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 ... the addition of the "Global Brain ... their offering. --> ) ... "Global Brain Monitoring Devices Market 2015-2019" ... Research and Markets ( ) has ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... of a Biologics License Application (BLA) with ... Administration (FDA) for ABP 501, a biosimilar candidate to ... the first adalimumab biosimilar application submitted to the FDA ... biosimilar pathway. Sean E. Harper , M.D., ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... WOODBURY, N.Y. , Nov. 25, 2015  Linden ... access and optimizing treatment outcomes for patients suffering from ... its request for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) enjoining ... between the two companies. --> ... aggressively pursuing all of its legal options. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: