Smooth muscle in the maintenance of increased airway resistance elicited by methacholine in humans.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine, 2014, 190 (8), pp. 879 - 885
Issue Date:
2014-10
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RATIONALE: Airway narrowing is maintained for a prolonged period after acute bronchoconstriction in humans in the absence of deep inspirations (DIs). OBJECTIVES: To determine whether maintenance of airway smooth muscle (ASM) shortening is responsible for the persistence of airway narrowing in healthy subjects following transient methacholine (MCh)-induced bronchoconstriction. METHODS: On two separate visits, five healthy subjects underwent MCh challenges until respiratory system resistance (Rrs) had increased by approximately 1.5 cm H2O/L/s. Subjects took a DI either immediately after or 30 minutes after the last dose. The extent of renarrowing following the bronchodilator effect of DI was used to assess the continued action of MCh (calculated as percent change in Rrs from the pre-DI Rrs). We then used human bronchial rings to determine whether ASM can maintain shortening during a progressive decrease of carbachol concentration. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: The increased Rrs induced by MCh was maintained for 30 minutes despite waning of MCh concentration over that period, measured as attenuated renarrowing when the DI was taken 30 minutes after compared with immediately after the last dose (7 min post-DI, -36.2 ± 11.8 vs. 14.4 ± 13.2%; 12 min post-DI, -39.5 ± 9.8 vs. 15.2 ± 17.8%). Ex vivo, ASM shortening was largely maintained during a progressive decrease of carbachol concentration, even down to concentrations that would not be expected to induce shortening. CONCLUSIONS: The maintenance of airway narrowing despite MCh clearance in humans is attributed to an intrinsic ability of ASM to maintain shortening during a progressive decrease of contractile stimulation.
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