A cell-centric view of lung alveologenesis

Lisandra Vila Ellis, Jichao Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Lung alveologenesis, formation of the alveolar region, allows sufficient gas exchange surface to be packed inside the chest cavity yet with orderly connection to the trachea. The real-life alveolar region, however, bears little resemblance to idealized cartoons owing to its three-dimensional nature, nonuniform shape, and mostly air-filled void. This morphological complexity is matched by its cellular complexity—comprised of intermixed and often tangled cells of the epithelial, mesenchymal, endothelial, and immune lineages. Modern imaging, genetics, and genomics are shedding light on and updating traditional views of alveologenesis. Accordingly, this review describes a cell-centric 3-phase definition of alveologenesis and discusses its failure in diseases and possible reactivation during regeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)482-496
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • alveoli
  • angiogenesis
  • AT1 cell
  • bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • lung development
  • lung morphology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology


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