Expanding the Pool of Stem Cell Therapy for Lung Growth and Repair
The lung's regenerative capacity resides within long-lived stem cells that can divide, self-renew, and differentiate to repair injured tissue or cell loss and maintain normal homeostasis. The ability to enhance endogenous stem cell capacity to regenerate lung tissue is the key to the treatment of a multitude of debilitating lung diseases such as bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), and other acute and chronic ailments of the lung. The challenge lies in identifying the progenitors of a tissue and, in the case of the lung, understanding the complex interactions lung progenitors have with the unique environment of an air-liquid interphase, proximal and distal airways, the intricate vascular tree, and the innate immune response. Indeed, many different lung stem/progenitor cells have been described, and their identity and role in lung regeneration continue to be debated.
- Received March 31, 2014.
- Accepted April 1, 2014.