Anatomy of the nasal cavity in the chinchilla

Joseph A. Jurcisek, Joan E. Durbin, Donna F. Kusewitt, Lauren O. Bakaletz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


There is currently great interest worldwide in developing noninvasive methods for the delivery of vaccines for upper respiratory tract diseases, including middle ear infection (otitis media, OM). One such noninvasive approach believed to have great potential for the prevention of diseases of the airway is to deliver vaccines by the intranasal (i.n.) route. Induction of a local, mucosal immune response in the upper respiratory tract, and particularly in the nasopharynx, would be a highly efficacious approach to prevention of OM. The chinchilla is the preferred rodent host for studying OM. However, although the anatomy of the chinchilla vomeronasal organ, inner ear, middle ear and Eustachian tube have been well-studied, to date there have been no reports in the literature of a similar complete analysis of the nasopharynx and nasal cavities of the chinchilla. In order to develop a relevant animal model of i.n. delivery as a potential immunization approach for the prevention of OM and to use these models for preclinical assessments of various vaccine candidates, it was important that we better understand the anatomy of the chinchilla nasal cavities and nasopharynx. Our anatomical studies revealed that the naso- and maxilloturbinates of the chinchilla nasal cavity more closely resemble the simple turbinates found in other rodents rather than the branched or complex turbinates seen in dogs, cats, and rabbits thus facilitating the i.n. delivery of vaccine candidates. The chinchilla nasal mucosa also contains numerous lymphoid aggregates like that of other rodents. Our findings thus suggest that we will be able to deliver i.n. vaccines effectively to chinchillas and that these vaccines will likely be able to induce specific immune responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-152
Number of pages17
JournalCells Tissues Organs
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 18 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


  • Chinchilla
  • Intranasal immunization
  • Nasal-associated lymphoid tissue
  • Otitis media

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