Mammalian lung morphology is well optimized for efficient bulk transport of gases, yet most lung morphogenesis occurs prenatally, when the lung is filled with liquid - and at birth it is immediately ready to function when filled with gas. Lung morphogenesis is regulated by numerous mechanical inputs including fluid secretion, fetal breathing movements, and peristalsis. We generally understand which of these broad mechanisms apply, and whether they increase or decrease overall size and/or branching. However, we do not generally have a clear understanding of the intermediate mechanisms actuating the morphogenetic control. We have studied this aspect of lung morphogenesis from several angles using mathematical/mechanical/transport models tailored to specific questions. How does lumen pressure interact with different locations and tissues in the lung? Is static pressure equivalent to dynamic pressure? Of the many plausible cellular mechanisms of mechanosensing in the prenatal lung, which are compatible with the actual mechanical situation? We will present our models and results which suggest that some hypothesized intermediate mechanisms are not as plausible as they at first seem.
- Mathematical Biology and Ecology Seminar