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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1996 Mar;80(3):727-33.

Effects of fenoterol on inspiratory effort sensation and fatigue during inspiratory threshold loading.

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  • 1First Department of Internal Medicine, Yokohama City University School of Medicine, Kanagawa, Japan.


We studied the effects of a single dose of fenoterol on the relationship between inspiratory effort sensation (IES) and inspiratory muscle fatigue induced by inspiratory threshold loading in healthy subjects. The magnitude of the threshold was 60% of maximal static inspiratory mouth pressure (PI,mmax) at functional residual capacity, and the duty cycle was 0.5. Subjects continued the threshold loaded breathing until the target mouth pressure could no longer be maintained (endurance time). The intensity of the IES was scored with a modified Borg scale. Either fenoterol (5 mg) or a placebo was given orally 2 h before loading in a randomized double-blind crossover protocol. The endurance time with fenoterol (34.4 +/- 8.6 min) was longer than that with the placebo (22.2 +/- 7.1 min; P < 0.05). The ratio of high- to low-frequency power of the diaphragmatic electromyogram (EMGdi) decreased during loading; the decrease was less with fenoterol (P < 0.05). The EMGdi also decreased with loading; the decrease was greater on fenoterol treatment (P < 0.01). The PI,mmax and maximal transdiaphragmatic pressure (Pdi) were similarly decreased after loading on either treatment. The intensity of the IES rose with time during loading in both groups but was lower with fenoterol than with the placebo (P < 0.05). The ratio of Pdi to integrated activity of the EMGdi increased with fenoterol (P < 0.05). Fenoterol treatment increased both superimposed Pdi twitch and Pdi twitch of relaxed diaphragm and decreased the value of (1-superimposed Pdi twitch/Pdi twitch of relaxed diaphragm). Thus we conclude that in normal subjects fenoterol reduces diaphragmatic fatigue and decreases the motor command to the diaphragm, resulting in a decrease in IES during inspiratory threshold loading and a prolongation of endurance.

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