Background: Pulmonary function has been reported in mice using negative pressure-driven forced expiratory manoeuvres (NPFE) and the forced oscillation technique (FOT). However, both techniques have always been studied using separate cohorts of animals or systems. The objective of this study was to obtain NPFE and FOT measurements at baseline and following bronchoconstriction from a single cohort of mice using a combined system in order to assess both techniques through a refined approach.
Methods: Groups of allergen- or sham-challenged ovalbumin-sensitized mice that were either vehicle (saline) or drug (dexamethasone 1 mg/kg ip)-treated were studied. Surgically prepared animals were connected to an extended flexiVent system (SCIREQ Inc., Montreal, Canada) permitting NPFE and FOT measurements. Lung function was assessed concomitantly by both techniques at baseline and following doubling concentrations of aerosolized methacholine (MCh; 31.25 - 250 mg/ml). The effect of the NPFE manoeuvre on respiratory mechanics was also studied.
Results: The expected exaggerated MCh airway response of allergic mice and its inhibition by dexamethasone were detected by both techniques. We observed significant changes in FOT parameters at either the highest (Ers, H) or the two highest (Rrs, RN, G) MCh concentrations. The flow-volume (F-V) curves obtained following NPFE manoeuvres demonstrated similar MCh concentration-dependent changes. A dexamethasone-sensitive decrease in the area under the flow-volume curve at the highest MCh concentration was observed in the allergic mice. Two of the four NPFE parameters calculated from the F-V curves, FEV0.1 and FEF50, also captured the expected changes but only at the highest MCh concentration. Normalization to baseline improved the sensitivity of NPFE parameters at detecting the exaggerated MCh airway response of allergic mice but had minimal impact on FOT responses. Finally, the combination with FOT allowed us to demonstrate that NPFE induced persistent airway closure that was reversible by deep lung inflation.
Conclusions: We conclude that FOT and NPFE can be concurrently assessed in the same cohort of animals to determine airway mechanics and expiratory flow limitation during methacholine responses, and that the combination of the two techniques offers a refined control and an improved reproducibility of the NPFE.