Airway oscillometry has become the de facto standard for quality assessment of lung physiology in laboratory animals and has demonstrated its usefulness in understanding diseases of small airways. Nowadays, it is seeing extensive use in daily clinical practice and research; however, a question that remains unanswered is how well physiological findings in animals and humans correlate?
Methodological and device differences are obvious between animal and human studies. However, all devices deliver an oscillated airflow test signal and output respiratory impedance. In addition, despite analysis differences, there are ways to interpret animal and human oscillometry data to allow suitable comparisons. The potential with oscillometry is its ability to reveal universal features of the respiratory system across species, making translational extrapolation likely to be predictive. This means that oscillometry can thus help determine if an animal model displays the same physiological characteristics as the human disease. Perhaps more importantly, it can also be useful to determine whether an intervention is effective as well as to understand if it affects the desired region of the respiratory system, e.g., the periphery of the lung.
Finally, findings in humans can also inform preclinical scientists and give indications as to what type of physiological changes should be observed in animal models to make them relevant as models of human disease. The present article will attempt to demonstrate the potential of oscillometry in respiratory research, an area where the development of novel therapies is plagued with a failure rate higher than in other disease areas.