Airflow obstruction after substance P aerosol: contribution of airway and pulmonary edema

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1990 Oct;69(4):1473-8. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1990.69.4.1473.


We have studied the effects of aerosolized substance P (SP) in guinea pigs with reference to lung resistance and dynamic compliance changes and their recovery after hyperinflation. In addition, we have examined the concomitant formation of airway microvascular leakage and lung edema. Increasing breaths of SP (1.5 mg/ml, 1.1 mM), methacholine (0.15 mg/ml, 0.76 mM), or 0.9% saline were administered to tracheostomized and mechanically ventilated guinea pigs. Lung resistance (RL) increased dose dependently with a maximum effect of 963 +/- 85% of baseline values (mean +/- SE) after SP (60 breaths) and 1,388 +/- 357% after methacholine (60 breaths). After repeated hyperinflations, methacholine-treated animals returned to baseline, but after SP, mean RL was still raised (292 +/- 37%; P less than 0.005). Airway microvascular leakage, measured by extravasation of Evans Blue dye, occurred in the brain bronchi and intrapulmonary airways after SP but not after methacholine. There was a significant correlation between RL after hyperinflation and Evans Blue dye extravasation in intrapulmonary airways (distal: r = 0.89, P less than 0.005; proximal: r = 0.85, P less than 0.01). Examination of frozen sections for peribronchial and perivascular cuffs of edema and for alveolar flooding showed significant degrees of pulmonary edema for animals treated with SP compared with those treated with methacholine or saline. We conclude that the inability of hyperinflation to fully reverse changes in RL after SP may be due to the formation of both airway and pulmonary edema, which may also contribute to the deterioration in RL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols
  • Airway Obstruction / physiopathology*
  • Airway Resistance / physiology
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Edema / physiopathology*
  • Evans Blue
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Lung Compliance / drug effects
  • Male
  • Methacholine Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Methacholine Compounds / pharmacology
  • Microcirculation
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Smooth / physiology
  • Pulmonary Edema / pathology
  • Pulmonary Edema / physiopathology*
  • Respiratory System / physiopathology
  • Substance P / administration & dosage
  • Substance P / pharmacology*


  • Aerosols
  • Methacholine Compounds
  • Substance P
  • Evans Blue