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Keywords:

  • airway;
  • lung;
  • pluripotent stem cells;
  • postnatal stem cells;
  • tissue engineering

Abstract

We review recent progress in the stem cell biology of the respiratory system, and discuss its scientific and translational ramifications. Several studies have defined novel stem cells in postnatal lung and airways and implicated their roles in tissue homeostasis and repair. In addition, significant advances in the generation of respiratory epithelium from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) now provide a novel and powerful platform for understanding lung development, modeling pulmonary diseases, and implementing drug screening. Finally, breakthroughs have been made in the generation of decellularized lung matrices that can serve as a scaffold for repopulation with respiratory cells derived from either postnatal or PSCs. These studies are a critical step forward towards the still distant goal of stem cell-based regenerative medicine for diseases of lung and airways.