Mucociliary transport determined by in vivo microdialysis in the airways of normal and CF mice

B. R. Grubb, James H Jones, R. C. Boucher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


We report a novel method to measure mucociliary transport (MCT) in both the upper and lower airways of normal and CF mice. The in vivo microdialysis technique involves placing a small quantity of dye on the airway surface and a microdialysis probe a defined distance from the site of dye deposition. The dye is transported toward the probe by ciliary transport and, upon reaching the microdialysis probe, diffuses across the dialysis membrane and is collected in the dialysate leaving the probe. The rate of MCT is calculated from the length of time from dye deposition to recovery. The rate of tracheal MCT in normal mice was 2.2 ± 0.45 (SE) mm/min (n = 6), a value similar to that in reports using other techniques. MCT in CF mice was not different (2.3 ± 0.29, n = 6), consistent with previous observations suggesting that tracheal ion transport properties are not different between CF and normal mice. The rate of MCT in the nasal cavity of normal mice was slower than in the trachea (1.3 ± 0.26, n = 4). MCT in the CF mouse nasal cavity (1.4 ± 0.31, n = 8), a region in which the CF mouse exhibits bioelectric properties similar to the human CF patient, was, again, not different from the normal mouse, perhaps reflecting copious gland secretion offsetting Na+ and liquid hyper-absorption. In conclusion, we have developed a versatile, simple in vivo method to measure MCT in both upper and lower airways of mice and larger animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number3 30-3
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Cystic fibrosis
  • In vivo microdialysis
  • Nasal cavity
  • Trachea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology


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