Subglottic injury: a clinically relevant animal model

Laryngoscope. 2012 Nov;122(11):2574-81. doi: 10.1002/lary.23515. Epub 2012 Sep 7.


Objectives/hypothesis: To develop a clinically aligned, reproducible model for subglottic injury.

Study design: Prospective randomized control pilot study.

Methods: Juvenile (3-month-old) New Zealand White rabbits underwent intubation with a 3-cm length of an endotracheal tube that was chosen so that there would be no air leak below 20 cm of water. This tube was one or two sizes above the appropriate tube for the animal. It was held in situ with a suture placed at the trachea and secured over a button in the neck for a period of 1 week. Animals were sacrificed 1 week postextubation, and larynges were harvested. A range of histological techniques and gross morphology were utilized to examine the injury caused at the level of the subglottis. Unintubated animals constituted controlled specimens.

Results: Intubated animals demonstrated considerable histopathology including evidence of ulceration, inflammation, granulation tissue, perichondritis, and chondritis when compared with control animals. Morphometric analysis demonstrated a significant increase in lamina propria thickness (P = .0013), mucosal thickness (P ≤ .0001), and in goblet cell areal density (P = .014). Analysis of mucin types found a significant decrease in acidic (P = .0001) mucin coinciding with a significant increase in mixed mucin types (P = .0013).

Conclusions: Our model provides a reliable and reproducible technique for acute/subacute injury to the subglottis secondary to intubation, which is consistent with previous histological findings of early changes associated with acquired subglottic stenosis (SGS). Future uses of this model could include the examination of current adjunctive therapies and their effects on limiting progression to SGS.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Glottis / injuries*
  • Goblet Cells / pathology
  • Laryngoscopy
  • Laryngostenosis / pathology*
  • Mucins / analysis
  • Mucous Membrane / pathology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rabbits
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Mucins