Mucociliary Transit Assessment Using Automatic Tracking in Phase Contrast X-Ray Images of Live Mouse Nasal Airways

Hye Won Jung, Ivan Lee, Sang Heon Lee, Kaye Morgan, David Parsons, Martin Donnelley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: The rate of mucociliary transit (MCT) is an indicator of the hydration and health of the airways for cystic fibrosis (CF). To determine the effectiveness of cystic fibrosis respiratory therapies, we have developed a novel method to non-invasively quantify the local rate and patterns of MCT behaviour in vivo by using synchrotron phase contrast X-ray imaging (PCXI) to visualise the MCT motion of micron-sized spherical particles deposited onto the airway surfaces of live mice. Methods: In this study the baseline MCT behaviour was assessed in the nasal airways of CFTR-null and normal mice which were then treated with hypertonic saline (HS) or mannitol. To assess MCT, the particle motion was tracked throughout the synchrotron PCXI sequences using fully-automated custom image analysis software. Results: There was no significant difference in the MCT rate between normal and CFTR-null mice, but the analysis of MCT particle tracking showed that HS may have a longer duration of action in CFTR-null mice than in the normal mice. Conclusion: This study demonstrated that changes in MCT rate in CF and normal mouse nasal airways can be measured using PCXI and customised tracking software and used for assessing the effects of airway rehydrating pharmaceutical treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-554
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Medical and Biological Engineering
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Automatic particle tracking
  • Cystic fibrosis (CF)
  • Mucociliary transit (MCT) assessment
  • Synchrotron phase contrast x-ray images

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