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Concept: Human lung


Background The prevalence of pulmonary embolism among patients hospitalized for syncope is not well documented, and current guidelines pay little attention to a diagnostic workup for pulmonary embolism in these patients. Methods We performed a systematic workup for pulmonary embolism in patients admitted to 11 hospitals in Italy for a first episode of syncope, regardless of whether there were alternative explanations for the syncope. The diagnosis of pulmonary embolism was ruled out in patients who had a low pretest clinical probability, which was defined according to the Wells score, in combination with a negative d-dimer assay. In all other patients, computed tomographic pulmonary angiography or ventilation-perfusion lung scanning was performed. Results A total of 560 patients (mean age, 76 years) were included in the study. A diagnosis of pulmonary embolism was ruled out in 330 of the 560 patients (58.9%) on the basis of the combination of a low pretest clinical probability of pulmonary embolism and negative d-dimer assay. Among the remaining 230 patients, pulmonary embolism was identified in 97 (42.2%). In the entire cohort, the prevalence of pulmonary embolism was 17.3% (95% confidence interval, 14.2 to 20.5). Evidence of an embolus in a main pulmonary or lobar artery or evidence of perfusion defects larger than 25% of the total area of both lungs was found in 61 patients. Pulmonary embolism was identified in 45 of the 355 patients (12.7%) who had an alternative explanation for syncope and in 52 of the 205 patients (25.4%) who did not. Conclusions Pulmonary embolism was identified in nearly one of every six patients hospitalized for a first episode of syncope. (Funded by the University of Padua; PESIT number, NCT01797289 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Lung, Hospital, Heart, Pulmonary embolism, Pulmonary artery, Human lung, Embolism


Changes in microbial community composition in the lung of patients suffering from moderate to severe COPD have been well documented. However, knowledge about specific microbiome structures in the human lung associated with CT defined abnormalities is limited.

Concepts: Medicine, Asthma, Lung, Pneumonia, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Emphysema, Pulmonary hypertension, Human lung


Didecyldimethylammonium chloride (DDAC) is a representative dialkyl-quaternary ammonium compound that is used as a disinfectant against several pathogens and is also used in commercial, industrial, and residential settings. We previously investigated toxicity on air way system following single instillation of DDAC to the lungs in mice, and found that DDAC causes pulmonary injury, which is associated with altered antioxidant antimicrobial responses; the inflammatory phase is accompanied or followed by fibrotic response. The present study was conducted to monitor transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling in pulmonary fibrosis induced by DDAC. Mice were intratracheally instilled with DDAC and sacrificed 1, 3, or 7 days after treatment to measure TGF-β signaling. In order to further evaluate TGF-β signaling, we treated isolated mouse lung fibroblasts with DDAC. Fibrotic foci were observed in the lungs on day 3, and were widely extended on day 7, with evidence of increased α-smooth muscle actin-positive mesenchymal cells and upregulation of Type I procollagen mRNA. Developing fibrotic foci were likely associated with increased expression of Tgf-β1 mRNA, in addition to decreased expression of Bone morphogenetic protein-7 mRNA. In fibrotic lung samples, the expression of phosphorylated SMAD2/3 was considerably higher than that of phosphorylated SMAD1/5. In isolated lung fibroblasts, the mRNA levels of Tgf-β1 were specifically increased by DDAC treatment, which prolonged phosphorylation of SMAD2/3. These effects were abolished by treatment with SD208 - a TGF-βRI kinase inhibitor. The results suggest that DDAC induces pulmonary fibrosis in association with TGF-β signaling.

Concepts: Lung, Pneumonia, Fibrosis, Heart, Pulmonary contusion, Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, Pneumothorax, Human lung


Tissue-specific differentiation programs become dysregulated during cancer evolution. The transcription factor Nkx2-1 is a master regulator of pulmonary differentiation that is downregulated in poorly differentiated lung adenocarcinoma. Here we use conditional murine genetics to determine how the identity of lung epithelial cells changes upon loss of their master cell-fate regulator. Nkx2-1 deletion in normal and neoplastic lungs causes not only loss of pulmonary identity but also conversion to a gastric lineage. Nkx2-1 is likely to maintain pulmonary identity by recruiting transcription factors Foxa1 and Foxa2 to lung-specific loci, thus preventing them from binding gastrointestinal targets. Nkx2-1-negative murine lung tumors mimic mucinous human lung adenocarcinomas, which express gastric markers. Loss of the gastrointestinal transcription factor Hnf4α leads to derepression of the embryonal proto-oncogene Hmga2 in Nkx2-1-negative tumors. These observations suggest that loss of both active and latent differentiation programs is required for tumors to reach a primitive, poorly differentiated state.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Gene expression, Lung, Lung cancer, Epithelium, Carcinoma, Human lung


Recapitulation of lung development from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) in three dimensions (3D) would allow deeper insight into human development, as well as the development of innovative strategies for disease modelling, drug discovery and regenerative medicine. We report here the generation from hPSCs of lung bud organoids (LBOs) that contain mesoderm and pulmonary endoderm and develop into branching airway and early alveolar structures after xenotransplantation and in Matrigel 3D culture. Expression analysis and structural features indicated that the branching structures reached the second trimester of human gestation. Infection in vitro with respiratory syncytial virus, which causes small airway obstruction and bronchiolitis in infants, led to swelling, detachment and shedding of infected cells into the organoid lumens, similar to what has been observed in human lungs. Introduction of mutation in HPS1, which causes an early-onset form of intractable pulmonary fibrosis, led to accumulation of extracellular matrix and mesenchymal cells, suggesting the potential use of this model to recapitulate fibrotic lung disease in vitro. LBOs therefore recapitulate lung development and may provide a useful tool to model lung disease.

Concepts: Human, Pulmonology, Lung, Embryo, Developmental biology, Stem cell, Stem cells, Human lung


Lung ageing, a significant risk factor for chronic human lung diseases such as COPD and emphysema, is characterised by airspace enlargement and decreasing lung function. Likewise, in prematurely ageing telomerase null (terc-/-) mice, p53 stabilisation within diminishing numbers of alveolar epithelial type 2 cells (AEC2) accompanies reduced lung function. Resveratrol (RSL) is a plant phytoalexin that has previously showed efficacy in enhancing invertebrate longevity and supporting mammalian muscle metabolism when delivered orally. Here, we tested whether inhaled RSL could protect young, terc-/- mice from accelerated ageing of the lung.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Enzyme, Pulmonology, Asthma, Lung, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Emphysema, Human lung


The human lung tissue microbiota remains largely uncharacterized, although a number of studies based on airway samples suggest the existence of a viable human lung microbiota. Here we characterized the taxonomic and derived functional profiles of lung microbiota in 165 non-malignant lung tissue samples from cancer patients.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, Disease, Lung, Lung cancer, Human lung


Excessive host inflammatory responses negatively impact disease outcomes in respiratory infection. Host-pathogen interactions during the infective phase of influenza are well studied, but little is known about the host’s response during the repair stage. Here, we show that influenza infection stimulated the expression of angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4) via a direct IL6-STAT3-mediated mechanism. ANGPTL4 enhanced pulmonary tissue leakiness and exacerbated inflammation-induced lung damage. Treatment of infected mice with neutralizing anti-ANGPTL4 antibodies significantly accelerated lung recovery and improved lung tissue integrity. ANGPTL4-deficient mice also showed reduced lung damage and recovered faster from influenza infection when compared to their wild-type counterparts. Retrospective examination of human lung biopsy specimens from infection-induced pneumonia with tissue damage showed elevated expression of ANGPTL4 when compared to normal lung samples. These observations underscore the important role that ANGPTL4 plays in lung infection and damage and may facilitate future therapeutic strategies for the treatment of influenza pneumonia.

Concepts: Inflammation, Cancer, Pulmonology, Lung, Pneumonia, Transmission and infection of H5N1, Mucus, Human lung


The cellular and molecular mechanisms that underpin regeneration of the human lung are unknown and study of lung repair has been impeded by the necessity for reductionist models that may exclude key components. We hypothesized that multicellular epithelial and mesenchymal cell clusters or lung organoid units (LuOU) could be transplanted to recapitulate proximal and distal cellular structures of the native lung and airways. Transplantation of LuOU resulted in the growth of tissue-engineered lung (TELu) that contained the necessary cell types consistent with native adult lung tissue and demonstrated proliferative cells at 2 and 4 weeks. This technique recapitulated important elements of both mouse and human lungs featuring key components of both the proximal and distal lung regions. When LuOU were generated from whole lung, TELu contained key epithelial and mesenchymal cell types, and the origin of the cells was traced from both ActinGFP and SPCGFP donors to indicate that the cells in TELu derived from the transplanted LuOU. Alveolar epithelial type 2 cells (AEC2s), club cells, ciliated cells marked by beta-tubulin IV, alveolar epithelial type I cells, Sox-2 positive proximal airway progenitors, p63-positive basal cells, and CGRP-positive pulmonary neuroendocrine were identified in the TELu. The mesenchymal components of peribronchial smooth muscle and nerve were identified with a CD31-positive donor endothelial cell contribution to TELu vasculature. TELu successfully grew from postnatal tissues from whole murine and human lung, distal murine lung, as well as murine and human trachea. These data support a model of post-natal lung regeneration containing the diverse cell types present in the entirety of the respiratory tract.

Concepts: Cell, Lung, Organelle, Heart, Epithelium, Cellular differentiation, Vertebrate trachea, Human lung


The potent immunomodulatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-6 is consistently upregulated in human lungs with emphysema, and in mouse emphysema models; however, the mechanism(s) by which IL-6 promotes emphysema remains obscure. IL-6 signals using two distinct modes, classical signalling via its membrane-bound IL-6 receptor (mIL-6R), and trans-signalling via a naturally-occurring soluble IL-6R (sIL-6R).

Concepts: Lung, Signal, Emphysema, Human lung