Bronchoalveolar Lavage of Murine Lungs to Analyze Inflammatory Cell Infiltration

J Vis Exp. 2017 May 4;(123):55398. doi: 10.3791/55398.


Bronchoalveolar Lavage (BAL) is an experimental procedure that is used to examine the cellular and acellular content of the lung lumen ex vivo to gain insight into an ongoing disease state. Here, a simple and efficient method is described to perform BAL on murine lungs without the need of special tools or equipment. BAL fluid is isolated by inserting a catheter in the trachea of terminally anesthetized mice, through which a saline solution is instilled into the bronchioles. The instilled fluid is gently retracted to maximize BAL fluid retrieval and to minimize shearing forces. This technique allows the viability, function, and structure of cells within the airways and BAL fluid to be preserved. Numerous techniques may be applied to gain further understanding of the disease state of the lung. Here, a commonly used technique for the identification and enumeration of different types of immune cells is described, where flow cytometry is combined with a select panel of fluorescently labeled cell surface-specific markers. The BAL procedure presented here can also be used to analyze infectious agents, fluid constituents, or inhaled particles within murine lungs.

Publication types

  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage / methods*
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / immunology*
  • Cell Count
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry / methods
  • Inflammation*
  • Lung / immunology*
  • Mice