In vivo animal models for drug delivery across the lung mucosal barrier.

Over recent years the research focus within the field of respiratory drug delivery has broadened to include a wide range of potential applications for inhalation by delivering drugs not just onto the lung mucosa but across it. The range of drugs being assessed is broad and includes both current and novel therapies and there are a growing number of additives that appear capable of enhancing systemic absorption. Comprehensive characterisation of drug delivery to the lungs is a complex task involving the determination of delivered, deposited and (for systemically-targeted drugs) absorbed dose. As it is difficult to simulate in vitro, in vivo whole animal models are still key to inhaled drug development. Because of the anatomical complexities and interspecies differences in the lungs, the appropriate choice of species and drug delivery method is vital during study design. New delivery devices designed specifically for animal studies as well as more sophisticated methods to determine drug deposition and absorption after inhalation are improving the information derived from these studies.