Left pneumonectomy or left nephrectomy was performed on 10-wk-old littermate male New Zealand White rabbits, and they were killed at 30 wk of age. Thirty-week-old male littermates served as controls. Nephrectomy was done to produce major tissue loss and trauma and to assess blood somatomedin C. At the end of the experiment, the right lungs of the pneumonectomy animals had a greater lung volume, weight, gas-exchanging surface area, and alveolar number than the nephrectomy animals and the controls, and their air spaces were the same size. When compared with both lungs of the nephrectomy group and the controls, lung weight was the same; lung volume, alveolar number, and protein were not significantly less in the pneumonectomy group, but gas-exchanging area (compared with controls only), DNA, and RNA were. After left nephrectomy, the right kidney increased in weight; nephrectomy had no effect on lung size or structure. We conclude that pneumonectomy at age 10 wk in male rabbits results in significant compensatory lung growth, including alveolar multiplication, and this persists to age 30 wk. Compensatory lung growth, however, was incomplete; that is, it did not reconstitute (equal) in all respects that of both lungs of the nephrectomy animals or the controls.
- Copyright © 1989 the American Physiological Society