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Review
. 1992 Apr;70(4):602-6.
doi: 10.1139/y92-077.

In Vivo Loads on Airway Smooth Muscle: The Role of Noncontractile Airway Structures

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Review

In Vivo Loads on Airway Smooth Muscle: The Role of Noncontractile Airway Structures

P Robinson et al. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. .

Abstract

The degree of airway smooth muscle contraction and shortening that occurs in vivo is modified by many factors, including those that influence the degree of muscle activation, the resting muscle length, and the loads against which the muscle contracts. Canine trachealis muscle will shorten up to 70% of starting length from optimal length in vitro but will only shorten by around 30% in vivo. This limitation of shortening may be a result of the muscle shortening against an elastic load such as could be applied by tracheal cartilage. Limitation of airway smooth muscle shortening in smaller airways may be the result of contraction against an elastic load, such as could be applied by lung parenchymal recoil. Measurement of the elastic loads applied by the tracheal cartilage to the trachealis muscle and by lung parenchymal recoil to smooth muscle of smaller airways were performed in canine preparations. In both experiments the calculated elastic loads applied by the cartilage and the parenchymal recoil explained in part the limitation of maximal active shortening and airway narrowing observed. We conclude that the elastic loads provided by surrounding structures are important in determining the degree of airway smooth muscle shortening and the resultant airway narrowing.

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