UNIT 10.11 Head-Out Plethysmography in Safety Pharmacology Assessment

  1. Jonathan P. Renninger

Published Online: 1 JUL 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0471141755.ph1011s33

Current Protocols in Pharmacology

Current Protocols in Pharmacology

How to Cite

Renninger, J. P. 2006. Head-Out Plethysmography in Safety Pharmacology Assessment. Current Protocols in Pharmacology. 33:10.11:10.11.1–10.11.18.

Author Information

  1. GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 JUL 2006
  2. Published Print: JUN 2006


The importance of the ability to accurately evaluate respiratory function in animals has been underscored by the classification of the respiratory system as a vital organ system by regulatory agencies in the United States, the European Union, and Japan. A comprehensive assessment of respiratory function should include an evaluation of ventilatory function, including rate and volume measurements, overall pulmonary ventilation (i.e., minute volume), and lung function, including resistance to lung airflow. A volume-displacement, head-out, plethysmograph chamber is widely considered the most accurate method for measuring respiratory flows and volumes in small animals because it allows direct assessment of both volume and rate as well as resistance to lung airflow, a predictor of airway constriction or obstruction. Direct assessment of airway resistance is important because mild to moderate increases are generally not detected as changes in ventilatory patterns. This unit describes a method for evaluating ventilatory and lung function in conscious rats.


  • plethysmography;
  • safety pharmacology;
  • respiratory function;
  • pleural pressure