Pulmonary fibrosis: searching for model answers

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2005 Jul;33(1):9-13. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2005-0062TR.


Substantial challenges remain in our understanding of fibrotic lung diseases. Nowhere is this more true than in the elucidation and verification of the pathogenetic basis upon which they develop. Scientific progress, most recently in the field of experimental therapy, has relied closely on interpreting data derived from animal modeling. Such models are used to identify the cellular interactions and molecular pathways involved in lung tissue repair and fibrosis. Over the coming years, the significance of new discoveries will continue to be evaluated using the in vivo analysis of animal models substituting for patients with actual pulmonary fibrosis. The commonest strategy to induce experimental pulmonary fibrosis is by directly administering a profibrotic agent to either wild-type animals or those that bear a specific genetic modification. The creation of new models has been greatly enhanced by the availability of stem cell lines and methods for introducing genetic mutations into these cells. Despite an increasing choice of models, there are still good reasons to continue adapting and using one of its earliest examples, the bleomycin model, in post-genomic pulmonary fibrosis research. A brief review of the exacting requirements of such research will place the strengths of this particular model in perspective.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / pharmacology
  • Bleomycin / pharmacology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Extracellular Matrix / pathology
  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung Diseases / pathology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology*


  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Bleomycin