The lizard solves a complex mystery… a glimmer of hope for the design of a new artificial lung


While lung Humans develop over months and years into complex structures, the lungs lizards The anole develops within a few days into primitive lobes covered with swollen nuclei, which helps the lizard to complete the process of gas exchange, similar to what the human lung does.

And because the lungs of anoles are rapidly growing, they will inspire engineers who design advanced biotechnologies such as the artificial lung organ.

“Our research group is really interested in understanding lung evolution for engineering purposes,” says Celeste Nelson, a professor of bioengineering at Princeton University and the study’s lead author.

“If we understand how lungs are built, perhaps we can take advantage of the mechanisms that Mother Nature uses to regenerate or engineer tissues.”

inspired system

according to studying Worked on by Nielson and recently published in Science Advances, the formation of the anole lung is very simple and less complex resembling a net stress ball (a stress-release game for staff), in contrast to the very complex evolution of the lung of birds and mammals, where branching is not Microfinance and complex biochemical signals.

According to scientists’ monitoring, the “anol” lung begins to develop for a few days as an elongated hollow membrane surrounded by a uniform layer of smooth muscle. This causes it to be stretched to eventually form a honeycomb-shaped mesh.

Fluid continues to push the membrane outward, until it swells through the gaps in the sinus network and forms fluid-filled follicles that cover the lung. These bulges create a surface area in which gas exchange takes place, and the process of gas exchange in the lungs involves the entry of oxygen and the removal of carbon dioxide.

The whole process of lung development in lizards takes less than two days and is completed during the first week of incubation, that is, after the lizard has hatched, air enters the upper part of the lung, circulates around the cavities, and then flows out.

previous attempts

Nelson attempted to study chicken lungs in the late 2000s, as the conventional wisdom was that “chicken lungs are the same as mouse lungs and human lungs”, eventually discovering that this was not true.

After studying anole lizards, the scientists say the anole lung evolution model inspired them to develop a new type of artificial lung, a framework that engineers can fine-tune to an unknown future.

“Different organisms have different organic structures, which is beautiful, and we can learn a lot from it,” says Nelson. “If we appreciate that there is a lot of biodiversity that we can’t see, and try to take advantage of it, then as engineers we will have more tools to tackle some of the challenges.” major challenges facing society.

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