Efficacy of a technique for exposing the mouse lung to particles aspirated from the pharynx

J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2003 Aug 8;66(15):1441-52. doi: 10.1080/15287390306417.


Recent studies have demonstrated that the mouse lung can be exposed to soluble antigens by aspiration of these antigens from the pharynx. This simple technique avoids the trauma associated with intratracheal instillation. In this study, the pharyngeal aspiration technique was validated for exposing the mouse lung to respirable particles. Using respirable fluorescent amine-modified polystyrene latex beads and beryllium oxide particles, we investigated the localization of aspirated particles within the lung and the relationship between the amount of material placed in the pharynx and the amount deposited in the lung. For exposure, mice were anesthetized with isoflurane in a bell jar, placed on a slant board, and the tongue was gently held in full extension while a 50-microl suspension of particles was pipetted onto the base of the tongue. Tongue restraint was maintained until at least two breaths were completed. Less than a minute after exposure, all mice awoke from anesthesia without visible sequela. There were no significant differences in particle distribution between the left and right side of the lung (p=.16). Particles were widely disseminated in a peribronchiolar pattern within the alveolar region. There was a linear and significant correlation (r2=.99) between the amount administered and the amount deposited in the lung. In beryllium-exposed mice, measurable lung beryllium was 77.5 to 88.2% of the administered beryllium. These findings demonstrate that following aspiration of pharyngeal deposited particles, exposures to the deep lung are repeatable, technically simple, and highly correlated to the administered dose.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Beryllium
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Inhalation
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microspheres
  • Pharynx / physiology*
  • Radiography


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • beryllium oxide
  • Beryllium