Early pulmonary disease manifestations in cystic fibrosis mice

J Cyst Fibros. 2016 Nov;15(6):736-744. doi: 10.1016/j.jcf.2016.05.002. Epub 2016 May 24.


Background: Altered pulmonary function is present early in the course of cystic fibrosis (CF), independent of documented infections or onset of pulmonary symptoms. New initiatives in clinical care are focusing on detection and characterization of preclinical disease. Thus, animal models are needed which recapitulate the pulmonary phenotype characteristic of early stage CF.

Methods: We investigated young CF mice to determine if they exhibit pulmonary pathophysiology consistent with the early CF lung phenotype. Lung histology and pulmonary mechanics were examined in 12- to 16-week-old congenic C57bl/6 F508del and R117H CF mice using a forced oscillation technique (flexiVent).

Results: There were no significant differences in the resistance of the large airways. However, in both CF mouse models, prominent differences in the mechanical properties of the peripheral lung compartment were identified including decreased static lung compliance, increased elastance and increased tissue damping. CF mice also had distal airspace enlargement with significantly increased mean linear intercept distances.

Conclusions: An impaired ability to stretch and expand the peripheral lung compartment, as well as increased distances between gas exchange surfaces, were present in young CF mice carrying two independent Cftr mutations. This altered pulmonary histopathophysiology in the peripheral lung compartment, which develops in the absence of infection, is similar to the early lung phenotype of CF patients.

Keywords: Cystic fibrosis; Lung mechanics; Mouse models.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asymptomatic Diseases
  • Cystic Fibrosis / genetics
  • Cystic Fibrosis / physiopathology*
  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator / genetics
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Respiratory Function Tests / methods


  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator