Effect of tidal volume and frequency on airway responsiveness in mechanically ventilated rabbits

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We evaluated the effects of the rate and volume of tidal ventilation on airway resistance (Raw) during intravenous methacholine (MCh) challenge in mechanically ventilated rabbits. Five rabbits were challenged at tidal volumes of 5, 10, and 20 ml/kg at a frequency of 15 breaths/min and also under static conditions (0 ml/kg tidal volume). Four rabbits were subjected to MCh challenge at frequencies of 6 and 30 breaths/min with a tidal volume of 10 ml/kg and also under static conditions. In both groups, the increase in Raw with MCh challenge was significantly greater under static conditions than during tidal ventilation at any frequency or volume. Increases in the volume or frequency of tidal ventilation resulted in significant decreases in Raw in response to MCh. We conclude that tidal breathing suppresses airway responsiveness in rabbits in vivo. The suppression of narrowing in response to MCh increases as the magnitude of the volume or the frequency of the tidal oscillations is increased. Our findings suggest that the effect of lung volume changes on airway responsiveness in vivo is primarily related to the stretch of airway smooth muscle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1202-1208
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 1997



  • Airway narrowing
  • Airway smooth muscle
  • Tidal breathing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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