Infant mice were ventilated with either high tidal volume (V-T) with zero end-expiratory pressure (HVZ), high VT with positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) (HVP), or low V-T with PEEP. Thoracic gas volume (TGV) was determined plethysmographically and low-frequency forced oscillations were used to measure the input impedance of the respiratory system. Inflammatory cells, total protein, and cytokines in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) in serum were measured as markers of pulmonary and systemic inflammatory response, respectively. Coefficients of tissue damping and tissue elastance increased in all ventilated mice, with the largest rise seen in the HVZ group where TGV rapidly decreased. BALF protein levels increased in the HVP group, whereas serum IL-6 rose in the HVZ group. PEEP keeps the lungs open, but provides high volumes to the entire lungs and induces lung injury. Compared to studies in adult and non-neonatal rodents, infant mice demonstrate a different response to similar ventilation strategies underscoring the need for age-specific animal models. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.