Mouse Models of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome: A Review of Analytical Approaches, Pathologic Features, and Common Measurements

Toxicol Pathol. 2015 Dec;43(8):1074-92. doi: 10.1177/0192623315598399. Epub 2015 Aug 21.


Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a severe pulmonary reaction requiring hospitalization, which is incited by many causes, including bacterial and viral pneumonia as well as near drowning, aspiration of gastric contents, pancreatitis, intravenous drug use, and abdominal trauma. In humans, ARDS is very well defined by a list of clinical parameters. However, until recently no consensus was available regarding the criteria of ARDS that should be evident in an experimental animal model. This lack was rectified by a 2011 workshop report by the American Thoracic Society, which defined the main features proposed to delineate the presence of ARDS in laboratory animals. These should include histological changes in parenchymal tissue, altered integrity of the alveolar capillary barrier, inflammation, and abnormal pulmonary function. Murine ARDS models typically are defined by such features as pulmonary edema and leukocyte infiltration in cytological preparations of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and/or lung sections. Common pathophysiological indicators of ARDS in mice include impaired pulmonary gas exchange and histological evidence of inflammatory infiltrates into the lung. Thus, morphological endpoints remain a vital component of data sets assembled from animal ARDS models.

Keywords: acute lung injury; acute respiratory distress syndrome; animal model; mouse; pneumonitis; pulmonary edema; respiratory.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Lung / pathology
  • Mice
  • Pulmonary Edema
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome*