Retinoic acid enhances lung growth after pneumonectomy

Ann Thorac Surg. 2001 May;71(5):1645-50. doi: 10.1016/s0003-4975(01)02478-x.


Background: We sought to identify the role of retinoic acid (RA) upon lung growth. RA has a role in perinatal lung development, and we hypothesized that exogenous RA would enhance postpneumonectomy compensatory lung growth.

Methods: Utilizing the postpneumonectomy rat model, we studied the impact of RA upon contralateral lung growth. Adult Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into three groups. Group S underwent a sham left thoracotomy, group P underwent left pneumonectomy, and group R underwent left pneumonectomy with administration of exogenous RA (0.5 microg/g/day intraperitoneally). We then quantitated right lung growth after 10 and 21 days. Lung weight and volume were expressed as a ratio to the final body weight (lung weight and volume indices, LWI and LVI). Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression was quantitated using Western blot analysis. Cellular proliferation index (CPI) was determined using BrdU immunostaining.

Results: LWI, LVI, CPI, and EGFR expression at 21 days were significantly higher in group R versus S and P. At the 10-day interval, both LWI and LVI were significantly higher in group R versus S and P.

Conclusions: RA administration markedly enhances lung growth after pneumonectomy, as evidenced by increases in LWI, LVI, and CPI. Upregulation of EGFR expression was associated with these effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • ErbB Receptors / drug effects
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Lung / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Pneumonectomy*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Regeneration / drug effects*
  • Tretinoin / pharmacology*


  • Tretinoin
  • ErbB Receptors