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Eur Respir J. 1997 Nov;10(11):2449-54.

Inhalation of dry-powder mannitol increases mucociliary clearance.

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Dept of Respiratory Medicine, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


Inhalation of hypertonic saline stimulates mucociliary clearance (MCC) in healthy subjects and those with obstructive lung disease. We investigated the effect of inhaling the osmotic agent mannitol on MCC. We used a dry-powder preparation of mannitol British Pharmacopea (BP) which was encapsulated and delivered using a Dinkihaler. MCC was measured for 75 min in six asthmatic and six healthy subjects on two occasions before and after the mannitol inhalation or its control, using 99mTc-sulphur colloid and a gamma camera. The inhaled dose of mannitol was 267+/-171 mg (mean+/-SD) and 400 mg and the percentage fall in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) was 22+/-3 and 4+/-2% in the asthmatic and healthy subjects, respectively. The total clearance in the whole right lung for the 60 min from the start of inhalation of mannitol was greater by 263+/-11.9% in the asthmatic and 18.1+/-4.9% in the healthy subjects compared to the control. The total clearance over 75 min was 54.7+/-9.6% and 33.6+/-9.4% on the mannitol and control day (p<0.002), respectively, in the asthmatic subjects and 40.5+/-7.1% and 24.8+/-7.8% (p<0.002) in the healthy subjects. In conclusion, inhalation of dry-powder mannitol increases mucociliary clearance in asthmatic and healthy subjects and may benefit patients with abnormal mucociliary clearance.

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