Main content area

Cellular Differentiation and Proliferation in the Ovine Lung during Gestation and Early Postnatal Development

Martineau, H.M., Dagleish, M.P., Cousens, C., Underwood, C., Forbes, V., Palmarini, M., Griffiths, D.J.
Journal of comparative pathology 2013 v.149 no.2-3 pp. 255-267
antibodies, cell differentiation, cell proliferation, humans, immunohistochemistry, lambs, models, parturition, phenotype, pneumocytes, postnatal development, pregnancy, tubulin
This study investigates epithelial cell differentiation and proliferation in specific anatomical regions of the ovine lung during prenatal and postnatal development. Immunohistochemistry was used to identify ciliated epithelial cells, Clara cells, neuroepithelial bodies and type II pneumocytes in the lungs of preterm (67, 127 and 140 days of gestation), full-term (147 days) and postnatal (9, 16 and 91 days old) lambs. Differentiation of ciliated epithelial cells was seen at 67 days of gestation and at term for Clara cells. Neuroepithelial bodies were first detected at 127 days of gestation. From 16 to 91 days of age there was a significant (P <0.05) increase in beta-tubulin (present in ciliated epithelial cells) and Clara cell protein (present in Clara cells) in multiple regions of the lung. Detection of Ki67, a marker of proliferation, in preterm lambs showed a reduction in proliferation index in multiple anatomical regions of the lung between 70 days of gestation and term. Cell proliferation increased following parturition, and then decreased between 16 and 91 days of age, with the largest reduction occurring in the alveolar compartment. Knowledge of which cells are present at specific times of lung development provides valuable information on the anatomy of the ovine lung, improving its use as a model for ovine and human neonatal disease. In addition, the antibodies used here will be valuable for future studies requiring the identification and quantification of respiratory epithelial cell phenotypes in the sheep lung.