The course of pulmonary edema formation after an intratracheal (i.t.) instillation of ovalbumin was followed noninvasively by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in actively sensitized Brown Norway (BN) rats. Changes in edema volume assessed by MRI mimicked the results from the analysis of the number and activation of inflammatory cells recovered from the broncho-alveolar lavage (BAL) fluid. Rats treated with budesonide did not develop edema following challenge with ovalbumin, and these animals showed a significant decrease in BAL fluid inflammatory cell numbers and eosinophil peroxidase and myeloperoxidase activities. Thus, following lung edema formation by MRI provides a reliable means of assessing pulmonary inflammation after allergen challenge. Unlike BAL fluid analysis, which requires killing animals at each time point, this method is noninvasive. MRI could be of importance for the noninvasive profiling of anti-inflammatory drugs in animal models of asthma and in the clinic. Magn Reson Med 45:88-95, 2001.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.