Compliances of the liquid-filled lungs and chest wall during development in fetal sheep

J Dev Physiol. 1991 Aug;16(2):105-13.


Our aim was to measure the compliance of the liquid-filled lungs (CL), and the compliance of the chest wall (CW) in fetal sheep in utero. CL and CW were measured in 6 fetuses. The compliance of the lungs and chest wall combined (respiratory system, Crs) was measured in 9 fetuses. Pressure differences across the lungs (PL), chest wall (PW) and respiratory system (Prs) were measured while the lungs were deflated and inflated with liquid from their resting lung liquid volume (V1). V1 was measured using an indicator dilution technique. Specific compliance values were obtained by normalizing the values of CL, CW and Crs with respect to values of V1. From values obtained during stepwise inflation from V1, specific compliances (ml/cm H2O/ml of lung liquid) were: lungs, 0.22 +/- 0.02; chest wall, 0.41 +/- 0.07; respiratory system, 0.13 +/- 0.01. Specific compliances of the lungs, chest wall and respiratory system did not change significantly with advancing gestational age from 120 to 143 days. Our baseline data will be valuable in assessing the in utero progress of the structural development of the lungs following manipulations known to cause altered lung growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Gas Analysis
  • Compliance
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / physiology*
  • Fetal Organ Maturity / physiology
  • Gestational Age
  • Lung Compliance / physiology
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Respiratory Physiological Phenomena
  • Respiratory System / embryology*
  • Sheep