Certain pathological conditions, e.g. pneumonia or acute lung injury, can lead to fluid buildup in the small pulmonary airways. During breathing, micron-sized air bubbles propagate through the fluid-occluded airways and these microbubbles may exert injurious hydrodynamic stresses on the epithelial cells (EC) which line airway walls. Specifically, the pressure and shear stresses generated during microbubble flows may cause plasma membrane rupture [1], cell detachment [2] and an exacerbation of the existing lung injury.

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