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Respir Physiol. 1995 Jan;99(1):3-12.

Regulation of human airway surface liquid.

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Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California at San Francisco 94143, USA.


Human airways are lined with a film of liquid from 5-100 microns in depth, consisting of a periciliary sol around and a mucous gel above the cilia. Microscopical studies have shown the sol to be invariably the same depth as the length of the cilia, and we discuss possible reasons for this. The composition and sources of the airway surface liquid are also described. In addition the forces regulating its volume are analyzed. Several airway diseases are characterised by dramatic changes in the volume and composition of airway liquid. We review recent research suggesting that the accumulation of airway mucous secretions in cystic fibrosis is caused by alterations in active transport of ions and water across both the surface and gland epithelia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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