In vivo micro-CT assessment of airway remodeling in a flexible OVA-sensitized murine model of asthma

PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e48493. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0048493. Epub 2012 Oct 30.


Airway remodeling is a major pathological feature of asthma. Up to now, its quantification still requires invasive methods. In this study, we aimed at determining whether in vivo micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) is able to demonstrate allergen-induced airway remodeling in a flexible mouse model of asthma. Sixty Balb/c mice were challenged intranasally with ovalbumin or saline at 3 different endpoints (Days 35, 75, and 110). All mice underwent plethysmography at baseline and just prior to respiratory-gated micro-CT. Mice were then sacrificed to assess bronchoalveolar lavage and lung histology. From micro-CT images (voxel size = 46×46×46 µm), the numerical values of total lung attenuation, peribronchial attenuation (PBA), and PBA normalized by total lung attenuation were extracted. Each parameter was compared between OVA and control mice and correlation coefficients were calculated between micro-CT and histological data. As compared to control animals, ovalbumin-sensitized mice exhibited inflammation alone (Day 35), remodeling alone (Day 110) or both inflammation and remodeling (Day 75). Normalized PBA was significantly greater in mice exhibiting bronchial remodeling either alone or in combination with inflammation. Normalized PBA correlated with various remodeling markers such as bronchial smooth muscle size or peribronchial fibrosis. These findings suggest that micro-CT may help monitor remodeling non-invasively in asthmatic mice when testing new drugs targeting airway remodeling in pre-clinical studies.

MeSH terms

  • Airway Remodeling*
  • Animals
  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / pathology
  • Bronchi / immunology
  • Bronchi / pathology
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Lung / immunology
  • Lung / pathology
  • Mice
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • X-Ray Microtomography*


  • Ovalbumin

Grants and funding

These authors have no support or funding to report.