Real-time non-invasive detection of inhalable particulates delivered into live mouse airways.

Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide, Australia.
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation (Impact Factor: 2.19). 08/2009; 16(Pt 4):553-61. DOI: 10.1107/S0909049509012618
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Fine non-biological particles small enough to be suspended in the air are continually inhaled as we breathe. These particles deposit on airway surfaces where they are either cleared by airway defences or can remain and affect lung health. Pollutant particles from vehicles, building processes and mineral and industrial dusts have the potential to cause both immediate and delayed health problems. Because of their small size, it has not been possible to non-invasively examine how individual particles deposit on live airways, or to consider how they behave on the airway surface after deposition. In this study, synchrotron phase-contrast X-ray imaging (PCXI) has been utilized to detect and monitor individual particle deposition. The in vitro detectability of a range of potentially respirable particulates was first determined. Of the particulates tested, only asbestos, quarry dust, fibreglass and galena (lead sulfate) were visible in vitro. These particulates were then examined after delivery into the nasal airway of live anaesthetized mice; all were detectable in vivo but each exhibited different surface appearances and behaviour along the airway surface. The two fibrous particulates appeared as agglomerations enveloped by fluid, while the non-fibrous particulates were present as individual particles. Synchrotron PCXI provides the unique ability to non-invasively detect and track deposition of individual particulates in live mouse airways. With further refinement of particulate sizing and delivery techniques, PCXI should provide a novel approach for live animal monitoring of airway particulates relevant to lung health.

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