Impaired tracheal mucus transport in allergic bronchoconstriction: Effect of terbutaline pretreatment

David Weissberger, William Oliver, William M. Abraham, Adam Wanner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The transport velocity of mucus within the trachea, pulmonary resistance, and arterial blood gas composition were measured in intubated conscious sheep with Ascaris suum sensitivity before and during allergic bronchoconstriction. Inhalation of A. suum extract for 15 min increased mean pulmonary resistance significantly from 1.9 cm H2O · L-1 sec-1 to 5.1 cm H2O · L-1 sec-1 after 60 min and to 4.5 cm H2O · L-1 sec-1 after 120 min, while it decreased mean arterial PO2 from 85 to 59 and 53 mm Hg, respectively, without altering arterial PCO2 or pH. This was associated with a decrease in mean mucus velocity from 11.2 to 6.0 and 5.7 mm min-1, respectively. The decrease in mucus velocity was accompanied by endoscopically visible increases in the quantity of tracheal mucus. No alterations in mucus velocity or pulmonary resistance were observed in animals who inhaled a control antigen (ragweed) or breathed a mixture of 10% oxygen 90% nitrogen, which produced a mean arterial PO2 of 51 mm Hg. The administration of 0.25 mg terbutaline sulfate by subcutaneous injection prior to A. suum challenge prevented the changes in mucus velocity, pulmonary resistance, and arterial PO2. We conclude that the decreased mucus velocity in the trachea during antigen-induced bronchoconstriction in conscious sheep is related to the allergic response, and can be prevented by the subcutaneous administration of terbutaline sulfate, a beta adrenergic agonist. This suggests that the protective effect of terbutaline sulfate in antigen-induced bronchoconstriction includes the effect on the associated impairment of mucociliary function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-362
Number of pages6
JournalThe Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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