Hypercapnia: A nonpermissive environment for the lung

István Vadász*, Rolf D. Hubmayr, Nicolaś Nin, Peter H.S. Sporn, Jacob I. Sznajder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Patients with severe acute and chronic lung diseases develop derangements in gas exchange thatmay result in increased levels of CO 2 (hypercapnia), the effects of which on human health are incompletely understood. It has been proposed that hypercapniamay have beneficial effects in patients with acute lung injury, and the concepts of "permissive" and even "therapeutic" hypercapnia have emerged. However, recent work suggests that CO 2 can act as a signaling molecule via pH- independentmechanisms, resulting in deleterious effects in the lung. Here we review recent research on how elevated CO 2 is sensed by cells in the lung and the potential harmful effects of hypercapnia on epithelial and endothelial barrier, lung edema clearance, innate immunity, and host defense. In viewof these findings,we raise concerns about the potentially deleterious effects hypercapnia may have in patients with acute and chronic lung diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-421
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory cell and molecular biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Alveolar epithelial barrier function
  • CO
  • COPD
  • Innate immunity
  • Na,K-ATPase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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