Deformation-induced lipid trafficking in alveolar epithelial cells

Nicholas E. Vlahakis, Mark A. Schroeder, Richard E. Pagano, Rolf D. Hubmayr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Mechanical ventilation with a high tidal volume results in lung injury that is characterized by blebbing and breaks both between and through alveolar epithelial cells. We developed an in vitro model to simulate ventilator-induced deformation of the alveolar basement membrane and to investigate, in a direct manner, epithelial cell responses to deforming forces. Taking advantage of the novel fluorescent properties of BODIPY lipids and the fluorescent dye FM1-43, we have shown that mechanical deformation of alveolar epithelial cells results in lipid transport to the plasma membrane. Deformation-induced lipid trafficking (DILT) was a vesicular process, rapid in onset, and was associated with a large increase in cell surface area. DILT could be demonstrated in all cells; however, only a small percentage of cells developed plasma membrane breaks that were reversible and nonlethal. Therefore, DILT was not only involved in site-directed wound repair but might also have served as a cytoprotective mechanism against plasma membrane stress failure. This study suggests that DILT is a regulatory mechanism for membrane trafficking in alveolar epithelia and provides a novel biological framework within which to consider alveolar deformation injury and repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L938-L946
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number5 25-5
StatePublished - May 2001


  • BODIPY lipids
  • Deforming stress
  • Lung injury
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Plasma membrane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Deformation-induced lipid trafficking in alveolar epithelial cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this