Airway responses to methacholine in allergic and nonallergic subjects

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1976 May;113(5):579-86. doi: 10.1164/arrd.1976.113.5.579.


After inhalation challenge with methacholine, bronchoconstrictor responses were produced in allergic subjects with asthma and hay fever as well as nonallergic subjects. Our results indicate that allergic persons possess a greater pulmonary responsiveness to inhalation of this parasympathomimetic agent than nonallergic subjects; however, patterns of response were different in the 2 types of allergic subjects, those with asthma and those with hay fever. Whereas both types of allergic subjects responded with changes in specific airway conductance when nonallergic subjects did not, only asthmatic subjects differed from nonallergic subjects when comparisons of spirometry were made. These data suggest that there is hypersensitivity of both central and peripheral airways in asthmatics and in the larger central airways of nonasthmatic allergic subjects.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Methacholine Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Methacholine Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Pulmonary Ventilation
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / physiopathology*
  • Respiratory System / drug effects*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / physiopathology
  • Spirometry


  • Methacholine Compounds