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Pulmonary Function Testing in Small Laboratory Mammals

John J. O'Neil and James A. Raub
Environmental Health Perspectives
Vol. 56 (Jun., 1984), pp. 11-22
DOI: 10.2307/3429831
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3429831
Page Count: 12
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Pulmonary Function Testing in Small Laboratory Mammals
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Abstract

The lung is the primary organ likely to be exposed by inhalation studies and, therefore, measurement of changes in lung function are of particular interest to the pulmonary physiologist and toxicologist. Tests of pulmonary function have been developed which can be used with small animals to measure spirometry (lung volumes), mechanics, distribution of ventilation, gas exchange or control of ventilation. These tests were designed on the basis of similar tests which are used in humans to diagnose and manage patients with lung disease. A major difference is that many of the measurements are performed in anesthetized animals, while human pulmonary function is usually measured in awake cooperating individuals. In addition, the measurement of respiratory events in small animals requires sensitive and rapidly responding equipment, because signals may be small and events can occur quickly. In general, the measurements described provide information on the change in normal lung function which results primarily from structural changes. These tests of pulmonary function can be repetitively and routinely accomplished and the results appear to be highly reproducible. Although some are quite sophisticated, many can be undertaken with relatively inexpensive equipment and provide useful information for toxicological testing.

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