Use of micro‐CT to determine tracheobronchial airway geometries in three strains of mice used in inhalation toxicology as disease models

Authored by  M J Oldham*, F Lucci, C Foong, D Yeo, B Asgharian*, S. Cockram*, S. Luke*, J Chua, M Peitsch, A Kuczaj

Published in The Anatomical Record: Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology    
* This author is not affiliated with PMI.


Aerosol dosimetry estimates for mouse strains used as models for human disease are not available, primarily because of the lack of tracheobronchial airway morphometry data. By using micro‐CT scans of in‐situ prepared lung casts, tracheobronchial airway morphometry for four strains of mice were obtained: Balb/c; AJ; C57BL/6; and Apoe‐/‐. The automated tracheobronchial airway morphometry algorithms for airway length and diameter were successfully verified against previously published manual and automated tracheobronchial airway morphometry data derived from two identical in‐situ Balb/c mouse lung casts. There was also excellent agreement in tracheobronchial airway length and diameter between the automated and manual airway data for the AJ, C57BL/6, and Apoe‐/‐ mice. Differences in branch angle measurements were partially due to the differences in definition between the automated algorithms and manual morphometry techniques. Unlike the manual airway morphometry techniques, the automated algorithms were able to provide a value for inclination to gravity for each airway. Inclusion of an inclination to gravity angle for each airway along with airway length, diameter, and branch angle make the current automated tracheobronchial airway data suitable for use in dosimetry programs that can provide dosimetry estimates for inhaled material. The significant differences in upper tracheobronchial airways between Balb/c mice and between C57BL/6 and Apoe‐/‐ mice highlight the need for mouse strain‐specific aerosol dosimetry estimates.