[Physiology and physiopathology of cough]

Pneumologie. 2008 Mar;62 Suppl 1:S14-7. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-959214.
[Article in German]


Cough clears off foreign bodies from the airways and maintains bronchial clearance when mucociliary transport is defective. Cough requires intact inspiratory muscles to inflate the lung up to 80 % of vital capacity and sound expiratory muscles to generate pressure against a closed glottis. Two mechanisms are required to facilitate proximal mucus transport: 1. Constriction of the cartilage containing airways caused by anterior bulging of the pars membranacea due to high air-flow velocity. 2. Thixotropia of the sputum. This feature changes mechanical properties in a way that sputum viscosity decreases with motion. Thixotropia is caused by the complex mucin-structure of the mucus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bronchi / pathology*
  • Bronchi / physiopathology*
  • Bronchial Diseases / pathology*
  • Bronchial Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Cough / pathology*
  • Cough / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Mucus / metabolism*