Noninvasive and invasive pulmonary function in mouse models of obstructive and restrictive respiratory diseases

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2010 Jan;42(1):96-104. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2008-0487OC. Epub 2009 Apr 3.


Pulmonary function analysis is an important tool in the evaluation of mouse respiratory disease models, but much controversy still exists on the validity of some tests. Most commonly used pulmonary function variables of humans are not routinely applied in mice, and the question of which pulmonary function is optimal for the monitoring of a particular disease model remains largely unanswered. Our study aimed to delineate the potential and restrictions of existing pulmonary function techniques in different respiratory disease models, and to determine some common variables between humans and mice. A noninvasive (unrestrained plethysmography) and two invasive pulmonary function devices (forced maneuvers system from Buxco Research Systems [Wilmington, NC] and forced oscillation technique from SCIREQ [Montreal, PQ, Canada]) were evaluated in well-established models of asthma (protein and chemical induced): a model of elastase-induced pulmonary emphysema, and a model of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis. In contrast to noninvasive tests, both invasive techniques were efficacious for the quantification of parenchymal disease via changes in functional residual capacity, total lung capacity, vital capacity, and compliance of the respiratory system. Airflow obstruction and airflow limitation at baseline were only present in emphysema, but could be significantly induced after methacholine challenge in mice with asthma, which correlated best with an increase of respiratory resistance. Invasive pulmonary functions allow distinction between respiratory diseases in mice by clinically relevant variables, and should become standard in the functional evaluation of pathological disease models.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asthma / metabolism*
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Lung Diseases / metabolism
  • Lung Diseases / pathology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Oscillometry
  • Plethysmography
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / metabolism*
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / physiopathology
  • Respiratory Mechanics