Chronic strain alters the passive and contractile properties of rabbit airways

R. S. Tepper, R. Ramchandani, E. Argay, L. Zhang, Z. Xue, Y. Liu, S. J. Gunst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


Pathophysiological conditions of the lung may shift the balance of forces so as to chronically alter the amount of strain imposed on the airways. This chronic strain could result in changes in the structure and/or function of the airways that affect its physiological properties. We evaluated the effects of imposing physiological levels of chronic mechanical strain on the passive and active physiological properties of intraparenchymal rabbit airways. Isolated bronchial segments were cultured for 48 h at transmural pressures of 0 cmH 2O (No Strain) or 7 cmH2O (Strain). Effects of strain on small parenchymal airways were evaluated in lung tissue slices cultured under conditions of No Strain or ∼50% increased in diameter (Strain). Chronic strain resulted in a higher passive compliance of the bronchial segments and larger airway lumen size. In addition, bronchi not subjected to chronic Strain were more responsive to ACh than bronchi subjected to chronic Strain, and airways in lung slices subjected to No Strain narrowed more in response to ACh than airways in lung slices subjected to Strain. The greatest effects of chronic strain occurred in the smallest sized airways. Our results suggest that chronic distension of the airways has physiologically important effects on their passive and active properties, which are most prominent in the smaller, more peripheral airways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1949-1954
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005


  • Mechanical stretch
  • Peripheral airways

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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