Resident cellular components of the human lung: current knowledge and goals for research on cell phenotyping and function

Proc Am Thorac Soc. 2008 Sep 15;5(7):763-6. doi: 10.1513/pats.200803-025HR.


The purpose of the workshop was to identify still obscure or novel cellular components of the lung, to determine cell function in lung development and in health that impacts on disease, and to decide promising avenues for future research to extract and phenotype these cells. Since robust technologies are now available to identify, sort, purify, culture, and phenotype cells, progress is now within sight to unravel the origins and functional capabilities of lung cells in developmental stages and in disease. The Workshop's agenda was to first discuss the lung's embryologic development, including progenitor and stem cells, and then assess the functional and structural cells in three main compartments of the lung: (1) airway cells in bronchial and bronchiolar epithelium and bronchial glands (basal, secretory, ciliated, Clara, and neuroendocrine cells); (2) alveolar unit cells (Type 1 cells, Type 2 cells, and fibroblasts in the interstitium); and (3) pulmonary vascular cells (endothelial cells from different vascular structures, smooth muscle cells, and adventitial fibroblasts). The main recommendations were to: (1) characterize with better cell markers, both surface and nonsurface, the various cells within the lung, including progenitor cells and stem cells; (2) obtain more knowledge about gene expression in specific cell types in health and disease, which will provide insights into biological and pathologic processes; (3) develop more methodologies for cell culture, isolation, sorting, co-culture, and immortalization; and (4) promote tissue banks to facilitate the procurement of tissue from normal and from diseased lung for analysis at all levels.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research*
  • Congresses as Topic
  • Humans
  • Lung / cytology*
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Lung Diseases / pathology*
  • Phenotype