Lung Disease: Alveoli

The alveoli are located in the respiratory zone of the lungs, at the distal termination of the alveolar ducts and atria. These air sacs are the forming and termination point of the respiratory tract. The alveoli consist of an epithelial layer and extracellular matrix surrounded by capillaries. In some alveolar walls there are pores between alveoli called Pores of Kohn. The alveoli contain some collagen and elastic fibres. The elastic fibres allow the alveoli to stretch as they are filled with air during inhalation. They then spring back during exhalation in order to expel the carbon dioxide-rich air.

Millions of people in the U.S. have lung disease. If all types of lung disease are lumped together, it is the number three killer in the United States.


Alveolar disease is visible on chest radiography as small, ill-defined nodules of homogeneous density centered on the acini or bronchioles. The nodules coalesce early in the course of disease, such that the nodules may only be seen as soft fluffy edges in the periphery.

  • Pneumonia
  • Tuberculosis
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • Pneumoconiosis
  • Pulmonary sarcoidosis
  • Pulmonary sarcoidosis
  • Bronchoscopy

Lung Disease: Alveoli Conference Speakers