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Choosing the Right Mouse Strain for Respiratory Disease Modeling: A Critical Consideration

In the world of respiratory research, the choice of mouse strain can make or break the success of an experimental disease model. Recent findings shed light on the importance of selecting the appropriate strain by elucidating key differences in lung mechanics between two commonly used strains: C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice.

A comprehensive study by Rojas-Ruiz et al (2023) dove into the intricacies of lung mechanics, revealing significant variations in elastance between the two strains. Elastance, a measure of lung stiffness, was notably higher in C57BL/6 mice compared to BALB/c counterparts. This divergence holds profound implications for modeling human respiratory diseases, as it suggests differing susceptibilities to specific pathogenic traits.

flexiVent mechanics of pulmonary ventilation
flexiVent System

The study investigated various parameters, both in vivo and in vitro, to uncover the underlying mechanisms driving these differences. A flexiVent system was used to provide a complete lung phenotype of each strain. While lung size, using the flexiVent Lung Volumes Manoeuvre, appeared similar between the strains, tissue stiffness emerged as a crucial discriminator. In vitro experiments demonstrated greater tissue elastance in C57BL/6 mice, attributed partly to a higher content of collagen.

Understanding these nuances is vital for researchers seeking to model respiratory diseases effectively. For instance, C57BL/6 mice may serve as a preferable model for studying conditions characterized by fibrosis, given their stiffer lung tissue. Conversely, BALB/c mice might be more suitable for investigating emphysematous changes, owing to their lower tissue stiffness.

In conclusion, the choice of mouse strain is a critical determinant of success in respiratory disease modeling. By recognizing and leveraging the distinct mechanical properties of strains like C57BL/6 and BALB/c, researchers can enhance the relevance and translatability of their findings. This underscores the importance of meticulous strain selection and underscores the need for a holistic understanding of lung mechanics in disease modeling efforts.

Full Article: Lung stiffness of C57BL/6 versus BALB/c mice. (2023). Rojas-Ruiz, A., et al. Scientific Reports, 13: 17481

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