Tracheal anomalies are potentially catastrophic congenital defects. As a newborn begins to breathe, the trachea needs to maintain an appropriate balance of elasticity and rigidity. If the tracheal cartilages are disorganized or structurally weak, the airways can collapse, obstructing breathing. Cartilage rings that are too small or too rigid can also obstruct breathing. These anomalies are frequently associated with craniofacial syndromes, and, despite the importance, are poorly understood. In this review, we summarize the spectrum of pathological phenotypes of the trachea and correlate them with the molecular events uncovered in mouse models.
- Congenital anomaly