Contrasting effects of prostaglandins E2 and F2 alpha on sensitivity of the human cough reflex

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1992 Aug;73(2):649-53. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1992.73.2.649.


Prostaglandins have been shown to influence the sensitivity of the cough reflex. To investigate putative mechanisms of this, we examined the effects of inhaled prostaglandins E2 (PGE2) and F2 alpha (PGF2 alpha) on human cough responses elicited by two challenges, low chloride solution and capsaicin, which may activate different neural pathways. Baseline cough challenges were followed after 2 h by five breaths of PGE2, PGF2 alpha, or citric acid as a control. Cough challenges were repeated after 1 min. Potentiation of capsaicin responses occurred after PGE2 (median increase 2 coughs/min, range 0-7, P less than 0.01) and PGF2 alpha (median increase 8 coughs/min, range -3 to 27, P less than 0.01) compared with control. The effect of PGF2 alpha was greater (P less than 0.05) than that of PGE2. Potentiation of low chloride responses also occurred after PGF2 alpha (median increase 7 coughs/2 min, range -1 to 19, P less than 0.01), but effects of PGE2 were insignificant against this challenge (median change -1 coughs/2 min, range -4 to 13). These data suggest that PGE2 and PGF2 alpha have different effects on the sensitivity of the human cough reflex, which may be relevant during airway disease.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Capsaicin
  • Chlorides / pharmacology
  • Citrates
  • Citric Acid
  • Cough / chemically induced
  • Cough / physiopathology*
  • Dinoprost / pharmacology*
  • Dinoprostone / pharmacology*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nerve Fibers / drug effects
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology
  • Reflex / drug effects*


  • Chlorides
  • Citrates
  • Citric Acid
  • Dinoprost
  • Dinoprostone
  • Capsaicin