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Eur Surg Res. 2008;40(4):305-16. doi: 10.1159/000121471. Epub 2008 Mar 19.

Overview of the pathology of three widely used animal models of acute lung injury.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.


Acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are syndromes of acute diffuse damage to the pulmonary parenchyma by a variety of local or systemic insults. Increased alveolar capillary membrane permeability was recognized as the common end organ injury and a central feature in all forms of ALI/ARDS. Although great strides have been made in understanding the pathogenesis of ALI/ARDS and in intensive care medicine, the treatment approach to ARDS is still relying on ventilatory and cardiovascular support based on the recognition of the clinical picture. In the course of evaluating novel treatment approaches to ARDS, 3 models of ALI induced in different species, i.e. the surfactant washout lavage model, the oleic acid intravenous injection model and the endotoxin injection model, were widely used. This review gives an overview of the pathological characteristics of these models from studies in pigs, dogs or sheep. We believe that a good morphological description of these models, both spatially and temporally, will help us gain a better understanding of the real pathophysiological picture and apply these models more accurately and liberally in evaluating novel treatment approaches to ARDS.

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