UNIT 18.3 Murine Asthma Models

  1. Jean F. Regal

Published Online: 1 SEP 2004

DOI: 10.1002/0471140856.tx1803s21

Current Protocols in Toxicology

Current Protocols in Toxicology

How to Cite

Regal, J. F. 2004. Murine Asthma Models. Current Protocols in Toxicology. 21:18.3:18.3.1–18.3.21.

Author Information

  1. School of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Duluth, Minnesota

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 SEP 2004
  2. Published Print: AUG 2004


Immunotoxicity can take the form of an enhanced immune response or hypersensitivity. Asthma is one possible consequence of hypersensitivity in the lung, with characteristics that include reversible airway obstruction, eosinophil infiltration into the lung, and airway hyperresponsiveness to agonists such as methacholine. In toxicology, two primary areas of investigation prompt the measurement of the asthmatic response in an animal: (1) identification of chemicals or proteins that cause asthma, i.e., respiratory allergens, and (2) identification of exposures that will exacerbate existing asthma. An ovalbumin-induced asthma model can be used to identify exposures that exacerbate existing asthma. A protocol for the sensitization and challenge of mice with ovalbumin is described; it leads to the asthma symptoms of airway hyperresponsiveness and eosinophil infiltration. Assessment of airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine uses whole body plethysmography in conscious unrestrained mice. Bronchoalveolar lavage of the mouse determines the extent of cellular infiltration into the airspace. Removal of lung lobes and assay of eosinophil peroxidase and myeloperoxidase provides a measure of the numbers of eosinophils and neutrophils, respectively, in the lung. Depending on the experimental goals, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and lung tissue can also be used for isolation of RNA, and measurement of cytokines, chemokines, antibodies, and inflammatory mediators.


  • asthma;
  • occupational asthma;
  • mouse;
  • lung;
  • eosinophil;
  • neutrophil