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Use of fractal geometry to propose a new mechanism of airway-parenchymal interdependence

Author(s): Kyongyob Min | Keita Hosoi | Yoshinori Kinoshita | Satoshi Hara | Hiroyuki Degami | Tetsuo Takada | Takahiko Nakamura

Journal: Open Journal of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
ISSN 2162-2159

Volume: 02;
Issue: 01;
Start page: 14;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Self-Similarity of Bronchial Branching | Power Laws | Fractal Geometry | Airways-Parenchymal Interdependence

The topic of airway-parenchymal interdependence (API) is of great importance to those interested in identifying factors that influence airway patency. A carefully designed experiment has raised questions about the classical concept of API. This paper proposes a new mechanism of API. The pulmonary lobe is an aggregated body consisting of many Miller’s lobular polyhedrons and a fractal bronchial tree. The fractal cartilaginous bronchial tree was assumed to be characterized by both Horton’s ratio (Lj+1/Lj=2λ, where Lj+1, and Lj denote the mean lengths of branches at Horsfield’ order of j + 1 and j) and power laws between diameters and lengths of branches. Fluid dynamic parameters of fractal trees were assumed to be interrelated among powers and λ. A non-cartilaginous lobular bronchiole is adjoined to the edge of a lobular polyhedron, and is encircled by an inextensible basement membrane to reflect a reversible relationship of rlLl = constant(c), where rl and Ll denote the diameter and the length of a lobular bronchiole, respectively. API at the level of the lobu-lar bronchiole was described by log(rl) = -(1+λ)/(1+5λ)log(hl/c), where rl and hl denote the diameter of the lobular bronchiole and the parenchymal parameter relating the size of the lobular polyhedron, respectively. If the distribution in sizes of the lobular polyhedrons was described by a Weibull’s probability density function characterized by the shape parameter m as well as the fractal parameter λ = 0.5, the diameter R of a cartilaginous bronchial branch was determined by log(R) = F - 3/7log(h/c), where F(m) denotes a function of m, and h denotes the mean size of the polyhedrons in the lobe. As a conclusion, API can be described by a combination of both lobular API and corresponding adaptive changes in the degree of contraction of airway smooth muscles.

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