Cigarette smoke-induced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a life-threatening inflammatory disorder of the lung. The development of effective therapies for COPD has been hampered by the lack of an animal model that mimics the human disease in a short time-frame.
To create an early onset mouse model of cigarette smoke-induced COPD that develops the hallmark features of the human condition in a short time-frame. To use this model to better understand pathogenesis and the roles of macrophages and mast cells (MCs) in COPD.
Tightly controlled amounts of cigarette smoke were delivered to the airways of mice, and the development of the pathological features of COPD was assessed. The roles of macrophages and MC tryptase in pathogenesis were evaluated using depletion and in vitro studies and MC protease-6 deficient mice.
After just 8 weeks of smoke exposure, wild-type mice developed chronic inflammation, mucus hypersecretion, airway remodeling, emphysema, and reduced lung function. These characteristic features of COPD were glucocorticoid-resistant and did not spontaneously resolve. Systemic effects on skeletal muscle and the heart, and increased susceptibility to respiratory infections also were observed. Macrophages and tryptase-expressing MCs were required for the development of COPD. Recombinant MC tryptase induced pro-inflammatory responses from cultured macrophages.
A short-term mouse model of cigarette smoke-induced COPD was developed in which the characteristic features of the disease were induced more rapidly than existing models. The model can be used to better understand COPD pathogenesis, and we show a requirement for macrophages and tryptase-expressing MCs.