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Learn about preclinical neonate research at ATS 2019.

The ATS Conference is an international platform for respiratory scientists, clinical researchers, medical practitioners and related health care professionals. It provides great networking and engagement opportunities with the SCIREQ team.

Come and meet us at booth 3619 anytime during the exhibition hours. We’d love to learn about your current experimental needs and showcase our latest innovations.

Are you interested in preclinical neonate research?

Join us for our annual breakfast event and learn more about preclinical neonate research. Guest speakers from the Morty Lab at Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim, Germany will present their current work on Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BDP).

The Morty Lab has two major research themes, both of which relate directly to adult and neonatal critical care medicine. They are currently exploring what causes premature infants to develop BPD when they are ventilated, and new ways to clinically manage this complex and important clinical problem encountered in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Dr. David Surate Solaligue and Dr. Claudio Nardiello from the Morty Lab will present their research in BPD where they successfully used the flexiVent and whole body plethysmography system to measure lung mechanics in BPD pups.


preclinical neonate research




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Preclinical Pediatrics and Neonate Research

preclinical neonate research

Pediatrics and neonatology involves learning more about development and growth through the first stages of life. Early lung development studies investigate the some of the most vulnerable stages of life and must overcome significant experimental challenges when working with small, fragile and uncooperative subjects.

The research targets a range of issues from spontaneously developed disorders to early life exposure and sensitization. Preclinical neonate research typically falls into 1 of 3 categories:

1. Development – Studying how the lungs develop and diseases that impede the proper development such as bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH).

The lungs are one of the last organs to develop in newborns and are dangerously impacted when infants are born prematurely. These infants are ventilated to support life. However, this ventilation process is very damaging to the lung and can cause BPD. In infants with BPD, the development of the alveoli – the principal gas exchange units of the lung – is compromised, with consequences that extend into adulthood.

Read more about BDP

2. Disease – Exposure to various diseases and their impact on early life such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and asthma.

The development and progression of the disease at early stages of life can have long-lasting impacts on the lung health. Challenges with allergens can lead to asthma and airway hyperresponsiveness, while exposure to viruses can cause an emphysematous phenotype and associated cardiovascular stress (respiratory syncytial virus).

3. In utero exposure – Exposures to the pregnant dams to test susceptibility of the pups such as smoking and allergens.

By challenging the pregnant dam, the stresses can cause impaired development of the fetus at crucial stages of life. The lungs may not be able to account for the stress and can develop abnormally into a diseased lung state.


preclinical neonate research

Why the flexiVent is best suited for preclinical neonate research?

Early lung development in small animals is very hard to measure. Without detailed respiratory mechanics many changes in the lungs cannot be captured in vivo, even in severe diseases. For diseases such as BPD, the hyperoxia challenge leads to airway remodeling and airway hyperresponsiveness in early adulthood. Changes in the tissue properties of the subject can reflect changes due to the effects of hyperoxia on lung development. The flexiVent measures these detailed respiratory mechanics. An integrated nebulizer has the ability to run a methacholine dose response which is critical in evaluating the respiratory health.


Figueira, Rebeca Lopes, et al. “Vascular and ventilatory mechanical responses in three different stages of pulmonary development in the rabbit model of congenital diaphragmatic hernia.” Acta cirurgica brasileira 33.10 (2018): 879-888.

The researchers were studying congenital diaphragmatic hernias (CDH) in embryonic (preterm) rabbits. CDH occurs when the diaphragm doesn’t fuse properly during development, leaving a hole between the thoracic and abdominal cavity. Since breathing is pressure based, this hernia causes the incomplete development of the lung and pulmonary hypertension. In their study, a surgical procedure 5 days before normal birth (E25) induced the hernia. At term (E30), the pups are then measured with the flexiVent to see how their lungs compare to the controls. The lungs responded more like an underdeveloped lung (similar to lungs at E27) with a higher overall stiffness and significantly more resistive lung. This was novel in that it showed at what normal developmental stage the CDH lungs were most similar to, in this case around E27.

Wang, Kimberley CW, et al. “Foetal growth restriction in mice modifies postnatal airway responsiveness in an age and sex-dependent manner.” Clinical science 132.2 (2018): 273-284.

This study looked at restricting growth in utero, and the pups associated increased incidence of asthma. The pregnant dams were housed in a hypoxic (low oxygen) environment during gestation. Following births, pups between 2 and 8 weeks were tested with the flexiVent and they found that at baseline the groups did not differ, however the airways became more restrictive during methacholine challenges compared to the controls (sex and age dependent effect), indicative of an asthmatic phenotype. This studied showed that a simple external factor on the dam lead to growth restriction in the pups, who consequently developed an asthmatic phenotype.

Greco, Francesco, et al. “Hyperoxia-induced lung structure–function relation, vessel rarefaction, and cardiac hypertrophy in an infant rat model.” Journal of translational medicine 17.1 (2019): 91.

The researchers were studying hyperoxia-induced bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) in rats. Following birth, the dam and pups were housed in a chamber with bias-flow and input gas controlled by IOX and the mass flow controllers. Oxygen concentrations varied from 21-100% over the first 19 days of life. The groups given hyperoxia presented higher resistance and stiffness of the airways when measured with the flexiVent. They looked at imaging and cardiovascular effects to show a complete picture of hyperoxia-induced airway remodeling and BPD in a rat model.


Visit our booth during ATS 2019


preclinical neonate research


ATS 2019

Dallas, Texas

Exhibit Dates / Hours:

May 19 – 21:

10:30 am – 3:30 pm

Booth 3619


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