The Bleomycin Model of Pulmonary Fibrosis

Methods Mol Biol. 2017:1627:27-42. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7113-8_2.


Interstitial lung disease (ILD) comprises a large number of chronic lung disease characterized by varying degrees of inflammation and fibrosis. Mostly they are idiopathic including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), which is a specific disorder characterized by progressive fibrosis leading commonly to end-stage lung disease, respiratory failure, and fatal outcome. IPF and many of these fibrotic ILDs lack effective therapy despite recent approval of two drugs to slow progression in certain IPF patients. Because there are no natural models for IPF, the use of animal models that reproduce key known features of the disease is warranted. Thus, different animal models have been developed to investigate key mechanisms underlying pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis and identify potential therapeutic targets for IPF. While no animal model can recapitulate all features of human disease, several are available to address select features of IPF and other fibrotic ILDs. Historically, among the first to be developed and used widely is the bleomycin model, which is the best-characterized and currently most extensively used animal model due to its ability to reproduce many aspects of IPF and other fibrotic ILDs, good reproducibility, and ease of induction. Studies using the bleomycin model have identified many of the cellular and molecular mechanisms now recognized as being important in pathogenesis of IPF and other fibrotic ILDs, as well as novel therapies for these diseases, including two recent drugs approved for treatment of IPF. This chapter will describe commonly used techniques for induction of the model by endotracheal administration of bleomycin through surgical and nonsurgical (transoral instillation).

Keywords: Bleomycin; Endotracheal instillation; Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; Mouse.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / adverse effects*
  • Bleomycin / administration & dosage
  • Bleomycin / adverse effects*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Progression
  • Drug Administration Routes
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / etiology
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / metabolism
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / etiology
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / metabolism
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / etiology*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / metabolism*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology
  • Rats
  • Sex Factors


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Bleomycin