What is it about?

Asthma is a major cause of morbidity and mortality, affecting some 300 million people throughout the world. More than 8% of the US population has asthma, with the prevalence increasing. As with other diseases, animal models of allergic airway disease greatly facilitate understanding of the underlying pathophysiology, help identify potential therapeutic targets, and allow preclinical testing of possible new therapies. Models of allergic airway disease have been developed in several animal species, but murine models are particularly attractive due to the low cost, ready availability, and well-characterized immune systems of these animals. Availability of a variety of transgenic strains further increases the attractiveness of these models. Here we describe two murine models of allergic airway disease, both employing ovalbumin as the antigen. Following initial sensitization by intraperitoneal injection, one model delivers the antigen challenge by nebulization, the other by intratracheal delivery. These two models offer complementary advantages, with each mimicking the major features of human asthma.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

The major features of acute asthma include an exaggerated airway response to stimuli such as methacholine (airway hyperresponsiveness; AHR) and eosinophil-rich airway inflammation. These are also prominent effects of allergen challenge in our murine models, and we describe techniques for measuring them and thus evaluating the effects of experimental manipulation. Specifically, we describe both invasive and non-invasive techniques for measuring airway hyperresponsiveness as well as methods for assessing infiltration of inflammatory cells into the airways and the lung. Airway inflammatory cells are collected by bronchoalveolar lavage while lung histopathology is used to assess markers of inflammation throughout the organ. These techniques provide powerful tools for studying asthma in ways that would not be possible in humans.


Experimental mouse models of allergic asthma offer new possibilities for studying disease pathogenesis and developing new therapeutics. These models are well suited to measuring factors governing the allergic immune response, airway inflammation, and pulmonary pathophysiology.

Aravind Reddy Tarugu
University of Pittsburgh

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Murine Model of Allergen Induced Asthma, Journal of Visualized Experiments, May 2012, MyJove Corporation,
DOI: 10.3791/3771.
You can read the full text:




The following have contributed to this page