Comparison of unrestrained plethysmography and forced oscillation for identifying genetic variability of airway responsiveness in inbred mice

Physiol Genomics. 2011 Jan 7;43(1):1-11. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00108.2010. Epub 2010 Sep 7.


Lung function detection in mice is currently most accurately measured by invasive techniques, which are costly, labor intensive, and terminal. This limits their use for large-scale or longitudinal studies. Noninvasive assays are often used instead, but their accuracy for measuring lung function parameters such as resistance and elastance has been questioned in studies involving small numbers of mouse strains. Here we compared parameters detected by two different methods using 29 inbred mouse strains: enhanced pause (Penh), detected by unrestrained plethysmography, and central airway resistance and lung elastance, detected by a forced oscillation technique. We further tested whether the phenotypic variations were determined by the same genomic location in genome-wide association studies using a linear mixed model algorithm. Penh, resistance, and elastance were measured in nonexposed mice or mice exposed to saline and increasing doses of aerosolized methacholine. Because Penh differed from airway resistance in several strains and because the peak genetic associations found for Penh, resistance, or elastance were located at different genomic regions, we conclude that using Penh as an indicator for lung function changes in high-throughput genetic studies (i.e., genome-wide association studies or quantitative trait locus studies) measures something fundamentally different than airway resistance and lung elastance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Airway Resistance / drug effects
  • Airway Resistance / physiology*
  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Male
  • Methacholine Chloride / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Plethysmography / methods*
  • Quantitative Trait Loci


  • Methacholine Chloride