Acute lung injury is the pulmonary manifestation of acute systemic inflammation, and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States . Although its incidence and outcomes have been historically difficult to determine, one 2005 study estimated that acute lung injury is associated with 74,500 deaths annually in the United States, as well as 3.6 million hospital days . Additionally, research has shown that physical, cognitive, and mental health impairments are common and persistent following acute lung injury . Despite its significant impact on public health, the inflammation and tissue damage that occurs alongside this condition has been difficult to treat.
Inflammatory lung injuries can result from both infectious and non-infectious sources . Viral and bacterial infections like influenza, pneumonia, and SARS-CoV-2 will typically elicit an acute inflammatory response, and could lead to severe complications such as acute respiratory distress syndrome . The inflammatory response to these infections results in an influx of immune cells into the lungs, which is often accompanied by a series of pro-inflammatory agents (e.g., interleukin-8) and reactive oxygen species that can damage lung tissue . While there is some understanding of the cellular components involved in this process, treatment plans and the underlying mechanisms driving tissue injury are not as well characterized, and appropriate preclinical models are needed.