New mouse model of pulmonary hypertension induced by respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis

Dai Kimura, Jordy Saravia, Sridhar Jaligama, Isabella McNamara, Luan D. Vu, Ryan D. Sullivan, Salvatore Mancarella, Dahui You, Stephania A. Cormier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Pulmonary hypertension (PH) has been observed in up to 75% of infants with moderate to severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) bronchiolitis and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality in infants with congenital heart disease. The purpose of the present study was to establish a mouse model of PH secondary to RSV bronchiolitis that mimics the disease etiology as it occurs in infants. Neonatal mice were infected with RSV at 5 days of age and then reinfected 4 wk later. Serum-free medium was administered to age-matched mice as a control. Echocardiography and right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP) measurements via right jugular vein catheterization were conducted 5 and 6 days after the second infection, respectively. Peripheral capillary oxygen saturation monitoring did not indicate hypoxia at 2–4 days post-RSV infection, before reinfection, and at 2–7 days after reinfection. RSV-infected mice had significantly higher RVSP than control mice. Pulsed-wave Doppler recording of the pulmonary blood flow by echocardiogram demonstrated a significantly shortened pulmonary artery acceleration time and decreased pulmonary artery acceleration time-to-ejection time ratio in RSV-infected mice. Morphometry showed that RSV-infected mice exhibited a significantly higher pulmonary artery medial wall thickness and had an increased number of muscularized pulmonary arteries compared with control mice. These findings, confirmed by RVSP measurements, demonstrate the development of PH in the lungs of mice infected with RSV as neonates. This animal model can be used to study the pathogenesis of PH secondary to RSV bronchiolitis and to assess the effect of treatment interventions. NEW & NOTEWORTHY This is the first mouse model of respiratory syncytial virus-induced pulmonary hypertension, to our knowledge. This model will allow us to decipher molecular mechanisms responsible for the pathogenesis of pulmonary hypertension secondary to respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis with the use of knockout and/or transgenic animals and to monitor therapeutic effects with echocardiography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H581-H589
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal model
  • Neonatal mouse model
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Respiratory syncytial virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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