How the Balloon-Like Alveoli Function within the Lungs
A physician and founder with Bright Pediatrics in Dalton, Georgia, Rami Azzouz has earned consistently high accolades in his professional community. One area of research focus for Rami Azzouz has been the use of vitamins in stimulating lung alveolization.
Lung alveolization is the process of formation of the alveoli, or minute air sacs that transport oxygen and carbon dioxide (CO2) molecules in and out of the bloodstream. Arranged in clusters, the alveoli are located at the very end of branches within the respiratory tree.
Because of their extremely thin walls, the balloon-like sacs readily allow the passage of CO2 and oxygen into and out of the capillaries. From these tiny blood vessels, oxygen is transported throughout the body and returned to alveoli in the form of CO2, which is then expelled through the respiratory system.
There are millions of alveoli in each lung, and the sacs are constructed of two basic cell types. Type I pneumocytes are tasked with facilitating oxygen and CO2 exchange, while type II pneumocytes generate surfactant that prevents collapse of the balloon shape. Type II cells also have the ability to morph into type I cells when called upon to repair damage.
Alveoli are stocked with alveolar macrophages, or immune cells that serve as the system’s waste cleaners. As phagocytizes, the macrophages consume debris and keep the system clean and functioning properly. Vitamin A has an essential role in the development of numerous cells and tissues and is vital for lung development from the embryonic stage onward.