Objectives: To evaluate the feasibility of using automatic quantitative analysis of breath hold gated micro-CT images to detect and monitor disease in a mouse model of chronic pulmonary inflammation, and to compare image-based measurements with pulmonary function tests and histomorphometry.
Material and methods: Forty-nine A/J mice were used, divided into control and inflammation groups. Chronic inflammation was induced by silica aspiration. Fourteen animals were imaged at baseline, and 4, 14, and 34 weeks after silica aspiration, using micro-CT synchronized with ventilator-induced breath holds. Lung input impedance was measured as well using forced oscillation techniques. Five additional animals from each group were killed after micro-CT for comparison with histomorphometry.
Results: At all time points, micro-CT measurements show statistically significant differences between the two groups, while first differences in functional test parameters appear at 14 weeks. Micro-CT measurements correlate well with histomorphometry and discriminate diseased and healthy groups better than functional tests.
Conclusion: Longitudinal studies using breath hold gated micro-CT are feasible on the silica-induced model of chronic pulmonary inflammation, and automatic measurements from micro-CT images correlate well with histomorphometry, being more sensitive than functional tests to detect lung damage in this model.