Aging-related changes in respiratory system mechanics and morphometry in mice

Jonathan E. Elliott, Carlos B. Mantilla, Christina M. Pabelick, Anja C. Roden, Gary C. Sieck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Previous work investigating respiratory system mechanics in mice has reported an aging-related increase in compliance and mean linear intercept (Lm). However, these changes were assessed using only a young (2-mo-old) and old (20-and 26-mo-old) group yet were interpreted to reflect a linear evolution across the life span. Therefore, to investigate respiratory system mechanics and lung morphometry across a more complete spectrum of ages, we utilized 2 (100% survival, n = 6)-, 6 (100% survival, n = 12)-, 18 (90% survival, n = 12)-, 24 (75% survival, n = 12)-, and 30 (25% survival, n = 12)-mo-old C57BL/6 mice. We found a nonlinear aging-related decrease in respiratory system resistance and increase in dynamic compliance and hysteresis between 2-and 24-mo-old mice. However, in 30-mo-old mice, respiratory system resistance increased, and dynamic compliance and hysteresis decreased relative to 24-mo-old mice. Respiratory system impedance spectra were measured between 1-20.5 Hz at positive end-expiratory pressures (PEEP) of 1, 3, 5, and 7 cmH2O. Respiratory system resistance and reactance at each level of PEEP were increased and decreased, respectively, only in 2-mo-old animals. No differences in the respiratory system impedance spectra were observed in 6-, 18-, 24-, and 30-mo-old mice. Additionally, lungs were fixed following tracheal instillation of 4% paraformaldehyde at 25 cmH2O and processed for Lm and airway collagen deposition. There was an aging-related increase in Lm consistent with emphysematous-like changes and no evidence of increased airway collagen deposition. Accordingly, we demonstrate nonlinear agingrelated changes in lung mechanics and morphometry in C57BL/6 mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L167-L176
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Compliance
  • Mean linear intercept

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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