Thursday, March 13, 2008

My Pink Spongy Lungs...

Inflated Lungs

The lungs are certainly one of the coolest organs to look at in lab class due to their light, fluffy feeling and their ability to expand to large volumes and quickly recoil... amazing! The above image shows a normal lung before and after inflation. Part of the ability of the lungs to expand and recoil is due to the extracellular matrix of the lung tissue which contains collagen and lots of elastin protein fibers. This gives the lungs their ability to recoil after inhalation so that air is exhaled properly. The videos below show this in action...





Smoking is a health hazard for many reasons such as heart disease and cancer, but smoking also can damage the physical structure of the lung. Cigarette smoking leads to neutrophil activation and retention in the lung tissues. Cigarette smoking induces macrophages to release neutrophil chemotactic factors and elastases, thus unleashing tissue destruction. A number of neutrophil-derived and macrophage-derived enzymes known as proteinases and elastases (ie, proteolytic enzymes) can destroy various components of the extracellular matrix of the lung (e.g., elastin fibers) and cause emphysema (see eMedicine). The tissue integrity of the tiniest airways (like the alveoli and respiratory bronchioles) is destroyed over time and normal elasticity is lost. There is also destruction of the aveolar capillaries which impairs gas exchange in the lung. All of this reduces the ability of the lungs to function and this is especially noticeable when patients with emphysema are asked to expire after maximal inhalation. It takes them longer to expire air out of their lungs since exhalation requires the inherent elasticity of the lung tissues, which they have lost with emphysema.



~~BIO26~~

5 comments:

shellbelleri said...

Is the damage to your lungs due to smoking at all irreversable or is smoking cessation more of a quit while your ahead deal?

California State University, Sacramento said...

I assume some damage is temporary and repair takes place after smoking cessation but I also imagine that some damage can never be undone... according to one source on the web "Emphysema induced by cigarette smoking is characterized by an inflammatory process, which is resistant to steroid treatment and remains active in lung tissue long after smoking has stopped."

adelen said...

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