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Am Rev Respir Dis. 1991 Jul;144(1):59-63.

Airway blood flow modifies allergic airway smooth muscle contraction.

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Division of Pulmonary Disease, University of Miami, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Miami Beach, Florida 33140.


We tested the hypothesis that airway perfusion modifies the contractile response of airway smooth muscle to allergen challenge by influencing the clearance of locally released spasmogens. In six intact, lightly sedated, sheep allergic to Ascaris suum, we measured tracheal mucosal blood flow (Qtr) with a soluble gas uptake method and tracheal dead space (Vtr), an index of airway smooth muscle tone, by helium dilution before and serially after local aerosol challenge with A. suum extract or ragweed extract (control). The former challenge was repeated during continuous intravenous infusion of either vasopressin or nitroglycerin, which by themselves had no effect on Vtr and decreased and increased Qtr, respectively. Ragweed had no effect on Qtr and Vtr, whereas A. suum increased mean (+/- SE) Qtr by 111 +/- 31% (p less than 0.05) and decreased mean Vtr by 15 +/- 2% (p less than 0.05) immediately after challenge, with Qtr returning to baseline by 40 min and Vtr by 80 min. Vasopressin infusion prevented the A. suum-induced increase in Qtr and prolonged the decrease in mean Vtr (p less than 0.05). During nitroglycerin infusion, A. suum failed to alter Qtr or Vtr. Vasopressin and nitroglycerin had no effect on the contractile responses of tracheal smooth muscle to A. suum in vitro. These results indicate that the effects of vasopressin and nitroglycerin on antigen-induced airway smooth muscle contraction in vivo were due to alterations in airway blood flow rather than to alterations in the release of or airway smooth muscle responsiveness to chemical mediators.

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