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J Vis Exp. 2015 Jan 16;(95):52236. doi: 10.3791/52236.

Automated measurement of pulmonary emphysema and small airway remodeling in cigarette smoke-exposed mice.

Author information

1
Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital - Harvard Medical School.
2
Department of Respiratory Medicine, University of Cambridge - Addenbrooke's Hospital.
3
Lung Transplant Program, Brigham and Women's Hospital - Harvard Medical School.
4
Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital - Harvard Medical School; COPD and IPF Programs, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute; cowen1@partners.org.

Abstract

COPD is projected to be the third most common cause of mortality world-wide by 2020((1)). Animal models of COPD are used to identify molecules that contribute to the disease process and to test the efficacy of novel therapies for COPD. Researchers use a number of models of COPD employing different species including rodents, guinea-pigs, rabbits, and dogs((2)). However, the most widely-used model is that in which mice are exposed to cigarette smoke. Mice are an especially useful species in which to model COPD because their genome can readily be manipulated to generate animals that are either deficient in, or over-express individual proteins. Studies of gene-targeted mice that have been exposed to cigarette smoke have provided valuable information about the contributions of individual molecules to different lung pathologies in COPD((3-5)). Most studies have focused on pathways involved in emphysema development which contributes to the airflow obstruction that is characteristic of COPD. However, small airway fibrosis also contributes significantly to airflow obstruction in human COPD patients((6)), but much less is known about the pathogenesis of this lesion in smoke-exposed animals. To address this knowledge gap, this protocol quantifies both emphysema development and small airway fibrosis in smoke-exposed mice. This protocol exposes mice to CS using a whole-body exposure technique, then measures respiratory mechanics in the mice, inflates the lungs of mice to a standard pressure, and fixes the lungs in formalin. The researcher then stains the lung sections with either Gill's stain to measure the mean alveolar chord length (as a readout of emphysema severity) or Masson's trichrome stain to measure deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins around small airways (as a readout of small airway fibrosis). Studies of the effects of molecular pathways on both of these lung pathologies will lead to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of COPD.

PMID:
25651034
PMCID:
PMC4354540
DOI:
10.3791/52236
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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