Lung inflation has a beneficial effect on the airways of healthy subjects. It acts as a bronchoprotector, that is to prevent bronchoconstriction, and as a bronchodilator, in that it reverses bronchial obstruction. The bronchoprotective effect of deep inspiration is more potent than the bronchodilatory one, and the two phenomena appear to advocate different mechanisms. Asthmatics and rhinitics with airways hyperresponsiveness show an impairment in bronchoprotection induced by deep breaths, whereas the bronchodilatory effect, although reduced, is still effective. The lack of the bronchoprotective effect of deep inspiration may contribute to the development of airways hyperresponsiveness. The mechanisms through which lung inflation exerts its beneficial role in healthy subjects, and the factors impairing such an effect in those with airways hyperresponsiveness, are currently under investigation.
Copyright 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel