Lung structure phenotype variation in inbred mouse strains revealed through in vivo micro-CT imaging

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2010 Dec;109(6):1960-8. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01322.2009. Epub 2010 Jul 29.


Within pulmonary research, the development of mouse models has provided insight into disease development, progression, and treatment. Structural phenotypes of the lung in healthy inbred mouse strains are necessary for comparison to disease models. To date, progress in the assessment of lung function in these small animals using whole lung function tests has been made. However, assessment of in vivo lung structure of inbred mouse strains has yet to be well defined. Therefore, the link between the structure and function phenotypes is still unclear. With advancements in small animal imaging it is now possible to investigate lung structures such as the central and peripheral airways, whole lung, and lobar volumes of mice in vivo, through the use of micro-CT imaging. In this study, we performed in vivo micro-CT imaging of the C57BL/6, A/J, and BALB/c mouse strains using the intermittent iso-pressure breath hold (IIBH) technique. The resulting high-resolution images were used to extract lung structure phenotypes. The three-dimensional lobar structures and airways were defined and a meaningful mouse airway nomenclature was developed. In addition, using these techniques we have uncovered significant differences in the airway structures between inbred mouse strains in vivo.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Phenotype
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Respiration
  • X-Ray Microtomography*