The rat heterotopic tracheal transplantation model is widely used as an experimental model to study the development of obliterative airway disease (OAD) and to assess immunosuppressive strategies for chronic rejection. Despite its widespread application, the heterotopic transplantation model does have a number of limitations like the lack of air flow and mucociliary clearance. The present article provides a detailed description of the surgical technique for orthotopic tracheal transplantations, which may share more similarities with lung transplants in humans. The technique is easy to learn, the procedure is well tolerated by the animals, and the grafts develop OAD lesions similar to those of human obliterative bronchiolitis.
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