Murine model of chronic respiratory inflammation

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2011;780:125-41. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4419-5632-3_11.


The respiratory mucosa is exposed to the external environment each time we breathe and therefore requires a robust and sophisticated immune defense system. As with other mucosal sites, the respiratory mucosal immune system must balance its response to pathogens while also regulating inflammatory immune cell-mediated tissue damage. In the airways, a failure to tightly control immune responses to a pathogen can result in chronic inflammation and tissue destruction with an overzealous response being deleterious for the host. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth most common cause of death in the US and both the prevalence of and mortality rate of this disease is increasing annually. COPD is characterized by intermittent disease exacerbation. The causal contribution of bacterial infections to exacerbations of COPD is now widely accepted, accounting for at least 50% of all exacerbations. Non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella catarrhalis (both gram-negative bacteria) along with Streptococcus pneumoniae (a gram-positive bacterium) are the three most common bacterial pathogens that cause respiratory tract infections in COPD patients. The colonization of bacteria in the lower airways is similar to a low-grade smoldering infection that induces chronic airway inflammation. Chronic low-grade infection can induce a persistent inflammatory response in the airways and parenchyma. Inefficient removal of bacteria from the lower respiratory tract is characteristic of chronic bronchitis. Inflammation is believed to be central to the pathogenesis of exacerbations, but a clear understanding of the inflammatory changes during an exacerbation of COPD has yet to emerge. As bacterial colonization of the lung in COPD patients is a chronic inflammatory condition highlighted by frequent bouts of exacerbation and clearance, we sought to reproduce this chronic pathogen-mediated inflammation in a murine model by repeatedly delivering the intact, whole, live bacteria intra-tracheally to the lungs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Infections / complications
  • Bacterial Infections / immunology*
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Bacterial Infections / pathology
  • Bronchi / immunology*
  • Bronchi / microbiology
  • Bronchi / pathology
  • Cytokines / analysis
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Progression
  • Haemophilus influenzae / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Inflammation / microbiology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / methods*
  • Mice
  • Moraxella catarrhalis / physiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / etiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / immunology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / microbiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / pathology
  • Respiratory Mucosa / immunology*
  • Respiratory Mucosa / microbiology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / physiology
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects


  • Cytokines
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution