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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1996 Oct;81(4):1739-43.

Changes in airway resistance induced by nasal inhalation of cold dry, dry, or moist air in normal individuals.

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Laboratoire de Physiopathologie Respiratoire Intégrée et Cellulaire, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 1630, Institut Jean Roche, Faculté de Médecine, Université de la Méditerrannée, Marseille, France.


Nasopulmonary bronchomotor reflexes elicited by mechanical or irritant stimulation of the nose have been described in animals and asthmatic patients. However, few studies were devoted to the consequences of nasal breathing of cold and dry air or of only dry or only moist air on the bronchomotor control in normal individuals. The present study reported changes in interruption resistance (Rint) measured during eupneic breathing of moderately cold (-4 or -10 degrees C) and dry [0.3% relative humidity (RH)] air or of room air at 23 degrees C that is either dry (0.3% RH) or moist (97% RH). Nasal inhalation of cold (-4 degrees C) dry air or of only dry air significantly increased baseline Rint value (17 and 21%, respectively) throughout the 15-min test periods. The response to cold was significantly accentuated when the air temperature was lowered to -10 degrees C (42%). After nasal anesthesia or inhalation of a cholinergic antagonist, cold air did not induce a change in Rint. Nasal inhalation of moist room air had no effect. No Rint changes were measured during oral breathing of the three test agents. It is concluded that the activation of cold receptors or osmoreceptors in the nasal mucosa induces protective bronchoconstrictor responses in normal individuals.

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