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Animal models of asthma: utility and limitations

Authors Aun MV, Bonamichi-Santos R, Arantes-Costa FM, Kalil J, Giavina-Bianchi P

Received 16 May 2017

Accepted for publication 18 September 2017

Published 7 November 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 293—301


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Amrita Dosanjh

Marcelo Vivolo Aun,1,2 Rafael Bonamichi-Santos,1,2 Fernanda Magalhães Arantes-Costa,2 Jorge Kalil,1 Pedro Giavina-Bianchi1

1Clinical Immunology and Allergy Division, Department of Internal Medicine, University of São Paulo School of Medicine, São Paulo, Brazil, 2Laboratory of Experimental Therapeutics (LIM20), Department of Internal Medicine, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Abstract: Clinical studies in asthma are not able to clear up all aspects of disease pathophysiology. Animal models have been developed to better understand these mechanisms and to evaluate both safety and efficacy of therapies before starting clinical trials. Several species of animals have been used in experimental models of asthma, such as Drosophila, rats, guinea pigs, cats, dogs, pigs, primates and equines. However, the most common species studied in the last two decades is mice, particularly BALB/c. Animal models of asthma try to mimic the pathophysiology of human disease. They classically include two phases: sensitization and challenge. Sensitization is traditionally performed by intraperitoneal and subcutaneous routes, but intranasal instillation of allergens has been increasingly used because human asthma is induced by inhalation of allergens. Challenges with allergens are performed through aerosol, intranasal or intratracheal instillation. However, few studies have compared different routes of sensitization and challenge. The causative allergen is another important issue in developing a good animal model. Despite being more traditional and leading to intense inflammation, ovalbumin has been replaced by aeroallergens, such as house dust mites, to use the allergens that cause human disease. Finally, researchers should define outcomes to be evaluated, such as serum-specific antibodies, airway hyperresponsiveness, inflammation and remodeling. The present review analyzes the animal models of asthma, assessing differences between species, allergens and routes of allergen administration.

Keywords: asthma, animal models, airway hyperresponsiveness, allergen, sensitization, challenge

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