Table_1_Age-Related Structural and Functional Changes in the Mouse Lung.DOCX (1.47 MB)

Table_1_Age-Related Structural and Functional Changes in the Mouse Lung.DOCX

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posted on 04.12.2019 by Henri Schulte, Christian Mühlfeld, Christina Brandenberger

Lung function declines with advancing age. To improve our understanding of the structure-function relationships leading to this decline, we investigated structural alterations in the lung and their impact on micromechanics and lung function in the aging mouse. Lung function analysis was performed in 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months old C57BL/6 mice (n = 7–8/age), followed by lung fixation and stereological sample preparation. Lung parenchymal volume, total, ductal and alveolar airspace volume, alveolar volume and number, septal volume, septal surface area and thickness were quantified by stereology as well as surfactant producing alveolar epithelial type II (ATII) cell volume and number. Parenchymal volume, total and ductal airspace volume increased in old (18 and 24 months) compared with middle-aged (6 and 12 months) and young (3 months) mice. While the alveolar number decreased from young (7.5 × 106) to middle-aged (6 × 106) and increased again in old (9 × 106) mice, the mean alveolar volume and mean septal surface area per alveolus conversely first increased in middle-aged and then declined in old mice. The ATII cell number increased from middle-aged (8.8 × 106) to old (11.8 × 106) mice, along with the alveolar number, resulting in a constant ratio of ATII cells per alveolus in all age groups (1.4 ATII cells per alveolus). Lung compliance and inspiratory capacity increased, whereas tissue elastance and tissue resistance decreased with age, showing greatest changes between young and middle-aged mice. In conclusion, alveolar size declined significantly in old mice concomitant with a widening of alveolar ducts and late alveolarization. These changes may partly explain the functional alterations during aging. Interestingly, despite age-related lung remodeling, the number of ATII cells per alveolus showed a tightly controlled relation in all age groups.