Noninvasive imaging of experimental lung fibrosis

Academic Article


  • Small animal models of lung fibrosis are essential for unraveling the molecular mechanisms underlying human fibrotic lung diseases; additionally, they are useful for preclinical testing of candidate antifibrotic agents. The current end-point measures of experimental lung fibrosis involve labor-intensive histological and biochemical analyses. These measures fail to account for dynamic changes in the disease process in individual animals and are limited by the need for large numbers of animals for longitudinal studies. The emergence of noninvasive imaging technologies provides exciting opportunities to image lung fibrosis in live animals as often as needed and to longitudinally track the efficacy of novel antifibrotic compounds. Data obtained by noninvasive imaging provide complementary information to histological and biochemical measurements. In addition, the use of noninvasive imaging in animal studies reduces animal usage, thus satisfying animal welfare concerns. In this article, we review these new imaging modalities with the potential for evaluation of lung fibrosis in small animal models. Such techniques include micro-computed tomography (micro-CT), magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography (PET), single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and multimodal imaging systems including PET/CT and SPECT/CT. It is anticipated that noninvasive imaging will be increasingly used in animal models of fibrosis to gain insights into disease pathogenesis and as preclinical tools to assess drug efficacy.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Zhou Y; Chen H; Ambalavanan N; Liu G; Antony VB; Ding Q; Nath H; Eary JF; Thannickal VJ
  • Start Page

  • 8
  • End Page

  • 13
  • Volume

  • 53
  • Issue

  • 1