New insight about one of the functions of the lungs by UC Science Today

The lungs don’t just pump air in and out of our bodies, they also make blood cells.

“A lung is quite sophisticated, not just respiring, moving oxygen. About 50 percent of platelets are produced directly in the lungs.”

That’s Mark Looney, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. He says platelets are components that make our blood clot. Scientists used to think that they get formed only in the bone marrow. So this new finding will have an important clinical implication.

“The dogma in the field for patients with low platelets count is that it is a problem with the bone marrow. Now we have a more nuanced understanding that that is not just cells in that location, but lung is a significant contributor to that. Now with the more complete understanding hopefully we will be able to develop approaches that can more effectively treat these patients.”