The Role of Lutheran/BCAM in Lung Development and Injury
Nguyet Nguyen, M.D.
Center for Pediatric Pulmonary Disease
Interdisciplinary Research Initiative
2/1/2009 - 1/31/2012
Formation and maintenance of appropriate lung airway epithelial cells is a complicated process vital to the survival of all newborns. Lung airway epithelial cells serve many functions and dysfunction of these cells can be seen in many lung diseases, including infant respiratory distress syndrome, asthma, and cystic fibrosis. While different lung epithelial cells can be recognized and detected, the details of their development and the factors affecting their formation are largely unknown. Genetic studies with knockout mice and various kinds of lung injury have helped to define the players important in lung epithelial cell development and function. Lutheran/BCAM is a receptor found on many epithelial cells in the body and its function is unknown. Generation of the Lutheran/BCAM knockout mouse has allowed investigators to further probe into the role of this molecule. While the Lutheran/BCAM knockout mouse appears normal at baseline, close examination of its lung epithelial cells show disturbances in the number of specific lung epithelial cells. In addition, when Lutheran/BCAM knockout mice are stressed with models of lung injury, including those that affect only lung epithelial cells, their responses are different from those of their littermates. Thus, one function of Lutheran/BCAM may be as a modulator of lung epithelial cell formation during development, and of lung epithelial cell response during disease or injury. Investigation of Lutheran/BCAM and lung epithelial cells will add to our understanding of lung epithelial cell development and give us insight into how specific lung epithelial cells respond to lung injury.