Novel Mouse Models of Fungal Asthma

Michael Daines, Rhea Pereira, Aubrey Cunningham, Barry Pryor, David G. Besselsen, Yuchen Liu, Qianwen Luo, Yin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Alternaria alternata is a ubiquitous fungus and a major allergen associated with the development of asthma. Inhalation of intact spores is the primary cause of human exposure to fungal allergen. However, allergen-rich cultured fungal filtrates are oftentimes used in the current models of fungal sensitization that do not fully reflect real-life exposures. Thus, establishing novel spore exposure models is imperative. In this study, we established novel fungal exposure models of both adult and neonate to live spores. We examined pathophysiological changes in the spore models as compared to the non-exposure controls and also to the conventional filtrate models. While both Alternaria filtrate- and spore-exposed adult BALB/c mice developed elevated airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), filtrates induced a greater IgE mediated response and higher broncholavage eosinophils than spores. In contrast, the mice exposed to Alternaria spores had higher numbers of neutrophils. Both exposures induced comparable levels of lung tissue inflammation and mucous cell metaplasia (MCM). In the neonatal model, exposure to Alternaria spores resulted in a significant increase of AHR in both adult and neonatal mice. Increased levels of IgE in both neonatal and adult mice exposed to spores was associated with increased eosinophilia in the treatment groups. Adult demonstrated increased numbers of lymphocytes that was paralleled by increased IgG1 production. Both adults and neonates demonstrated similarly increased eosinophilia, IgE, tissue inflammation and MCM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number683194
JournalFrontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
StatePublished - Aug 16 2021


  • AHR
  • Alternaria
  • asthma
  • fungus
  • lung
  • pathophysiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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