A Lung Segmental Model of Chronic Pseudomonas Infection in Sheep

David Collie, John Govan, Steven Wright, Elisabeth Thornton, Peter Tennant, Sionagh Smith, Catherine Doherty, Gerry McLachlan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output


Chronic lung infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a major contributor to morbidity, mortality and premature death in cystic fibrosis. A new paradigm for managing such infections is needed, as are relevant and translatable animal models to identify and test concepts. We sought to improve on limitations associated with existing models of infection in small animals through developing a lung segmental model of chronic Pseudomonas infection in sheep.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Using local lung instillation of P. aeruginosa suspended in agar beads we were able to demonstrate that such infection led to the development of a suppurative, necrotising and pyogranulomatous pneumonia centred on the instilled beads. No overt evidence of organ or systemic compromise was apparent in any animal during the course of infection. Infection persisted in the lungs of individual animals for as long as 66 days after initial instillation. Quantitative microbiology applied to bronchoalveolar lavage fluid derived from infected segments proved an insensitive index of the presence of significant infection in lung tissue (>104 cfu/g).


The agar bead model of chronic P. aeruginosa lung infection in sheep is a relevant platform to investigate both the pathobiology of such infections as well as novel approaches to their diagnosis and therapy. Particular ethical benefits relate to the model in terms of refining existing approaches by compromising a smaller proportion of the lung with infection and facilitating longitudinal assessment by bronchoscopy, and also potentially reducing animal numbers through facilitating within-animal comparisons of differential therapeutic approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere67677
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2013


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