Recently, a Sendai virus (SeV) model of chronic obstructive lung disease has demonstrated an innate immune response in mouse airways that exhibits similarities to the chronic airway inflammation in human chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, but the effect on distal lung parenchyma has not been investigated. The aim of our study is to image the time course and regional distribution of mouse lung microstructural changes in vivo after SeV infection. 1H and 3He diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were successfully performed on five groups of C57BL/6J mice. 1H MR images provided precise anatomical localization and lung volume measurements. 3He lung morphometry was implemented to image and quantify mouse lung geometric microstructural parameters at different time points after SeV infection. 1H MR images detected the SeVinduced pulmonary inflammation in vivo; spatially resolved maps of acinar airway radius R, alveolar depth h, and mean linear intercept Lm were generated from 3He diffusion images. The morphometric parameters R and Lm in the infected group were indistinguishable from PBS-treated mice at day 21, increased slightly at day 49, and were increased with statistical significance at day 77 (p = 0.02). Increases in R and Lm of infected mice imply that there is a modest increase in alveolar duct radius distal to airway inflammation, particularly in the lung periphery, indicating airspace enlargement after virus infection. Our results indicate that 3He lung morphometry has good sensitivity in quantifying small microstructural changes in the mouse lung and that the Sendai mouse model has the potential to be a valid murine model of COPD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1593-1599
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2012


  • Alveolar size
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Diffusion
  • He lung morphometry


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