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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1997 Jan;155(1):130-4.

Chronic, episodic, reversible airway obstruction after viral bronchiolitis in rats.

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Department of Medicine, School of Pharmacy, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53792-3244, USA.


Viral bronchiolitis in human infants has been associated with persistent airway abnormalities, but not proven as a cause. Previously we observed some adult rats had airway obstruction and hyperresponsiveness following bronchiolitis at an early age. The purpose of this study was to determine, via serial measurements of lung mechanics, whether the postbronchiolitis airway obstruction was episodic or continuous, and to determine the magnitude and duration of glucocorticoid effects. Rats were either virus- (n = 14) or sham-inoculated (n = 8) at 3 wks of age. Lung mechanics were measured 6 times in each rat at postinoculation Weeks 11-18. Half the rats in each group were treated with dexamethasone for 3 d at Week 15. The virus group had higher lung resistance (p = 0.03) and lower dynamic compliance (p = 0.005) than control rats, with airway obstruction occurring in an episodic pattern. Dexamethasone treatment had a transient effect in postbronchiolitis rats; lung resistance normalized in Week 15 (p = 0.006), then returned to pretreatment levels by Weeks 16-18. We conclude that viral bronchiolitis in rats can result in a chronic syndrome of intermittent, reversible airway obstruction which has multiple parallels with human asthma over a prolonged time period.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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