January 1973

Alveolar Clearance of Aerosols

Author Affiliations

Rochester, NY

From the departments of radiation biology and biophysics, and pharmacology and toxicology, University of Rochester (NY) Medical Center.

Arch Intern Med. 1973;131(1):101-108. doi:10.1001/archinte.1973.00320070097011

The alveolar region of the lungs is endowed with several "cleansing" mechanisms whereby nongaseous substances of intrinsic and extrinsic origins are continuously removed. Collectively, the clearance mechanisms and pathways can be categorized into those effecting the removal of the readily transportable materials, eg, dissolved or monomeric substances, by passive and active absorption processes; and of the more persistent, less easily transportable materials, eg, "insoluble" dusts, by endocytosis and dissolution. The author critically assesses various clearance concepts and reviews the salient physiological and anatomical considerations that underly these concepts.