A novel nonhuman primate model of cigarette smoke-induced airway disease

Francesca Polverino, Melanie Doyle-Eisele, Jacob McDonald, Julie A. Wilder, Christopher Royer, Maria Laucho-Contreras, Emer M. Kelly, Miguel Divo, Victor Pinto-Plata, Joe Mauderly, Bartolome R. Celli, Yohannes Tesfaigzi, Caroline A. Owen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Small animal models of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have several limitations for identifying new therapeutic targets and biomarkers for human COPD. These include a pulmonary anatomy that differs from humans, the limited airway pathologies and lymphoid aggregates that develop in smoke-exposed mice, and the challenges associated with serial biological sampling. Thus, we assessed the utility of cigarette smoke (CS)-exposed cynomolgus macaque as a nonhuman primate (NHP) large animal model of COPD. Twenty-eight NHPs were exposed to air or CS 5 days per week for up to 12 weeks. Bronchoalveolar lavage and pulmonary function tests were performed at intervals. After 12 weeks, we measured airway pathologies, pulmonary inflammation, and airspace enlargement. CS-exposed NHPs developed robust mucus metaplasia, submucosal gland hypertrophy and hyperplasia, airway inflammation, peribronchial fibrosis, and increases in bronchial lymphoid aggregates. Although CS-exposed NHPs did not develop emphysema over the study time, they exhibited pathologies that precede emphysema development, including increases in the following: i) matrix metalloproteinase-9 and proinflammatory mediator levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, ii) lung parenchymal leukocyte counts and lymphoid aggregates, iii) lung oxidative stress levels, and iv) alveolar septal cell apoptosis. CS-exposed NHPs can be used as a model of airway disease occurring in COPD patients. Unlike rodents, NHPs can safely undergo longitudinal sampling, which could be useful for assessing novel biomarkers or therapeutics for COPD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)741-755
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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