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Curr Drug Targets. 2008 Jun;9(6):438-42.

Animal models for human asthma: the perspective of a clinician.

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  • 1Fraunhofer Institute of Toxicology and Experimental Medicine (ITEM), Nikolai-Fuchs-Str. 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany.


The asthma animal model is still the only system that is available for modelling in vivo processes of human disease since for obvious ethical reasons these experiments are not possible in humans. However, there is a marked discrepancy between numerous successful studies in animals and very few rather disappointing clinical trials in patients. The current available models are usually uniform models of an acute asthmatic attack in adult animals, which do not spontaneously develop asthma. Major anatomical differences exist between human and animal airways and comparable lung function measurements are very difficult or impossible. The main reason why simplistic animal models may be inadequate lies probably in the diversity that exists within the different phenotypes of human asthma. Whereas progress is made to develop chronic asthma models with signs of airway remodelling, severe asthma and the role of small airways is still poorly reflected in current animal models.

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