Use of ferrets for electrophysiologic monitoring of ion transport

Academic Article


  • Limited success achieved in translating basic science discoveries into clinical applications for chronic airway diseases is attributed to differences in respiratory anatomy and physiology, poor approximation of pathologic processes, and lack of correlative clinical endpoints between humans and laboratory animal models. Here, we discuss advantages of using ferrets (Mustela putorus furo) as a model for improved understanding of human airway physiology and demonstrate assays for quantifying airway epithelial ion transport in vivo and ex vivo, and establish air-liquid interface cultures of ferret airway epithelial cells as a complementary in vitro model for mechanistic studies. We present data here that establishes the feasibility of measuring these human disease endpoints in ferrets. Briefly, potential difference across the nasal and the lower airway epithelium in ferrets could be consistently assessed, were highly reproducible, and responsive to experimental interventions. Additionally, ferret airway epithelial cells were amenable to primary cell culture methods for in vitro experiments as was the use of ferret tracheal explants as an ex vivo system for assessing ion transport. The feasibility of conducting multiple assessments of disease outcomes supports the adoption of ferrets as a highly relevant model for research in obstructive airway diseases.
  • Published In

  • PLoS One  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kaza N; Raju SV; Cadillac JM; Trombley JA; Rasmussen L; Tang L; Dohm E; Harrod KS; Rowe SM
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 10