Lung function is inextricably linked to mechanics. On short timescales every breath generates dynamic cycles of cell and matrix stretch, along with convection of fluids in the airways and vasculature. Perturbations such airway smooth muscle shortening or surfactant dysfunction rapidly alter respiratory mechanics, with profound influence on lung function. On longer timescales, lung development, maturation, and remodeling all strongly depend on cues from the mechanical environment. Thus mechanics has long played a central role in our developing understanding of lung biology and respiratory physiology. This concise review focuses on progress over the past 5 years in elucidating the molecular origins of lung mechanical behavior, and the cellular signaling events triggered by mechanical perturbations that contribute to lung development, homeostasis, and injury. Special emphasis is placed on the tools and approaches opening new avenues for investigation of lung behavior at integrative cellular and molecular scales. We conclude with a brief summary of selected opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for the lung mechanobiology research community.
- Extracellular matrix
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Biomedical Engineering