preclinical COPD research

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a term used to refer to a set of chronic lung diseases with pulmonary manifestations (e.g. emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or a combination of both) resulting from exposure to inhaled irritants such as cigarette smoke and environmental pollutants. The pulmonary aspects of COPD typically include characteristic lesions, chronic inflammation, excessive mucus production, and a degree of fixed airflow limitation associated with disease severity. This disease is one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. In the clinical setting, physicians rely heavily on spirometry and its outcome parameters (e.g. FEV1 and FVC) for diagnosis and monitoring as well as for the assessment of disease severity, as defined by the GOLD scale. Other lung function measurements, such as pressure-volume curves, forced oscillations, or thoracic imaging, are used in addition to bronchoprovocation tests to establish a diagnosis or evaluate disease progression.

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Comprehensive & integrated assessment

In preclinical COPD research, the challenge is often to link structural changes (e.g. cigarette-smoke induced alveolar destruction) to altered lung function measurements, such as resistance, compliance or spirometry outcomes. The flexiVent is a comprehensive tool allowing an integrated assessment of various disease determinants (e.g. extent and pattern of induced damage) on lung function decline. It measures the mechanical properties of the lungs with high sensitivity and reproducibility. In addition, it reliably evaluates COPD-diseased lungs through pressure-volume curves, changes in lung volume (e.g. inspiratory or forced vital capacities), or forced expiration outcomes, providing clinically relevant information.

References & Publications

Compact, reproducible, automated

The inExpose is a compact, computer-controlled system and can integrate with several smoke generation devices and adapters to suit a wide range of specific smoke applications. Its low internal volume allows desired concentrations to be reached with minimal tobacco/cannabis/e-liquid quantities. The pumps are specifically designed to deliver standard and customized puff profiles. Industry standards such as the commonly used ISO standard or the Canadian puffing profiles are often used to generate COPD models.

Smoke composition will be influenced by a number of technical factors. For example, the constituents of smoke will differ whether the smoke is drawn from side-stream, main-stream, or environmental tobacco smoke. Different brands of cigarettes, water filtered smoke (hookah), cigars, or e-cigarette constituents and flavourings will result in different smoke compositions. In addition, the choice of the puff profile will influence cigarette yields. It is therefore important, when studying the impacts of smoke, to consistently and reproducibly be able to introduce the same smoke composition at each experimental session.

To date, this versatility and programmability of the inExpose system has been employed in a variety of exposure studies, both in vivo and in vitro, to evaluate the effects of smoke.

References & Publications

Symptom screening

Symptoms of COPD include dyspnea, chronic cough, and chronic sputum production. Plethysmography, as a non-invasive technique, offers a powerful means of rapidly screening subjects based on changes in ventilatory parameters (e.g. breathing frequency, tidal volume, peak inspiratory or expiratory flows). Events such as coughing can also be detected and monitored.

References & Publications

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