Angiogenesis is a critical determinant of alveolarisation, which increases alveolar surface area and pulmonary capillary blood volume in infants; however, our understanding of this process is very limited. The purpose of our study was to measure the pulmonary membrane diffusion capacity (DM) and pulmonary capillary blood volume (VC) components of the diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (DLCO) in healthy infants and toddlers, and evaluate whether these components were associated with pro-angiogenic circulating haematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (pCHSPCs) early in life. 21 healthy subjects (11 males), 3-25 months of age, were evaluated. DLCO was measured under normoxic and hyperoxic conditions, and DM and VC were calculated. From 1 mL venous blood, pCHSPCs were quantified by multiparametric flow cytometry. DM and VC increased with increasing body length; however, membrane resistance as a fraction of total resistance to pulmonary diffusion remained constant with somatic size. In addition, DLCO and VC, but not DM, increased with an increasing percentage of pCHSPCs. The parallel increase in the membrane and vascular components of pulmonary diffusion is consistent with alveolarisation during this period of rapid lung growth. In addition, the relationship between pCHSPCs and VC suggest that pro-angiogenic cells may contribute to this vascular process.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine