Lung growth and development

Early Hum Dev. 2007 Dec;83(12):789-94. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2007.09.007. Epub 2007 Oct 1.


Human lung growth starts as a primitive lung bud in early embryonic life and undergoes several morphological stages which continue into postnatal life. Each stage of lung growth is a result of complex and tightly regulated events governed by physical, environmental, hormonal and genetic factors. Fetal lung liquid and fetal breathing movements are by far the most important determinants of lung growth. Although timing of the stages of lung growth in animals do not mimic that of human, numerous animal studies, mainly on sheep and rat, have given us a better understanding of the regulators of lung growth. Insight into the genetic basis of lung growth has helped us understand and improve management of complex life threatening congenital abnormalities such as congenital diaphragmatic hernia and pulmonary hypoplasia. Although advances in perinatal medicine have improved survival of preterm infants, premature birth is perhaps still the most important factor for adverse lung growth.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Vessels / growth & development
  • Fetus / blood supply
  • Humans
  • Lung / blood supply
  • Lung / embryology
  • Lung / growth & development*