Airway remodeling in ferrets with cigarette smoke-induced COPD using μCT imaging

Academic Article


  • Structural changes to airway morphology, such as increased bronchial wall thickness (BWT) and airway wall area, are cardinal features of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Ferrets are a recently established animal model uniquely exhibiting similar clinical and pathological characteristics of COPD as humans, including chronic bronchitis. Our objective was to develop a microcomputed tomography (μCT) method for evaluating structural changes to the airways in ferrets and assess whether the effects of smoking induce changes consistent with chronic bronchitis in humans. Ferrets were exposed to mainstream cigarette smoke or air control twice daily for 6 mo. μCT was conducted in vivo at 6 mo; a longitudinal cohort was imaged monthly. Manual measurements of BWT, luminal diameter (LD), and BWT-to-LD ratio (BWT/LD) were conducted and confirmed by a semiautomated algorithm. The square root of bronchial wall area (公WA) versus luminal perimeter was determined on an individual ferret basis. Smoke-exposed ferrets reproducibly demonstrated 34% increased BWT (P < 0.001) along with increased LD and BWT/LD versus air controls. Regression indicated that the effect of smoking on BWT persisted despite controlling for covariates. Semiautomated measurements replicated findings. 公WA for the theoretical median airway luminal perimeter of 4 mm (Pi4) was elevated 4.4% in smoke-exposed ferrets (P = 0.015). Increased BWT and Pi4 developed steadily over time. μCT-based airway measurements in ferrets are feasible and reproducible. Smoke-exposed ferrets develop increased BWT and Pi4, changes similar to humans with chronic bronchitis. μCT can be used as a significant translational platform to measure dynamic airway morphological changes.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Stanford D; Kim H; Bodduluri S; la Fontaine J; Byzek SA; Schoeb TR; Harris ES; Nath HP; Bhatt SP; Vamsee Raju S
  • Start Page

  • L11
  • End Page

  • L20
  • Volume

  • 319
  • Issue

  • 1