Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic progressive degenerative lung disease leading to respiratory failure and death. Although anti-fibrotic drugs are now available for treating IPF, their clinical efficacy is limited and lung transplantation remains the only modality to prolong survival of IPF patients. Despite its limitations, the bleomycin (BLM) animal model remains the best characterized experimental tool for studying disease pathogenesis and assessing efficacy of novel potential drugs. In the present study, the effects of oropharyngeal (OA) and intratracheal (IT) administration of BLM were compared in C57BL/6 mice. The development of lung fibrosis was followed in vivo for 28 days after BLM administration by micro-computed tomography and ex vivo by histological analyses (bronchoalveolar lavage, histology in the left lung to stage fibrosis severity and hydroxyproline determination in the right lung). In a separate study, the antifibrotic effect of Nintedanib was investigated after oral administration (60 mg/kg for two weeks) in the OA BLM model. Lung fibrosis severity and duration after BLM OA and IT administration was comparable. However, a more homogeneous distribution of fibrotic lesions among lung lobes was apparent after OA administration. Quantification of fibrosis by micro-CT based on % of poorly aerated tissue revealed that this readout correlated significantly with the standard histological methods in the OA model. These findings were further confirmed in a second study in the OA model, evaluating Nintedanib anti-fibrotic effects. Indeed, compared to the BLM group, Nintedanib inhibited significantly the increase in % of poorly aerated areas (26%) and reduced ex vivo histological lesions and hydroxyproline levels by 49 and 41%, respectively. This study indicated that micro-computed tomography is a valuable in vivo technology for lung fibrosis quantification, which will be very helpful in the future to better evaluate new anti-fibrotic drug candidates.
Quantification of Lung Fibrosis in IPF-Like Mouse Model and Pharmacological Response to Treatment by Micro-Computed Tomography / Ruscitti, Francesca; Ravanetti, Francesca; Bertani, Valeria; Ragionieri, Luisa; Mecozzi, Laura; Sverzellati, Nicola; Silva, Mario; Ruffini, Livia; Menozzi, Valentina; Civelli, Maurizio; Villetti, Gino; Stellari, Franco Fabio. - In: FRONTIERS IN PHARMACOLOGY. - ISSN 1663-9812. - 11(2020). [10.3389/fphar.2020.01117]