Afferent nerves regulating the cough reflex: mechanisms and mediators of cough in disease

Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2010 Feb;43(1):15-25, vii. doi: 10.1016/j.otc.2009.11.012.


Bronchopulmonary C fibers and acid-sensitive, capsaicin-insensitive mechanoreceptors innervating the larynx, trachea, and large bronchi regulate the cough reflex. These vagal afferent nerves may interact centrally with sensory input arising from afferent nerves innervating the intrapulmonary airways or even extrapulmonary afferents such as those innervating the nasal mucosa and esophagus to produce chronic cough or enhanced cough responsiveness. The mechanisms of cough initiation in health and in disease are briefly described.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asthma / complications
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Bradykinin / metabolism
  • Capsaicin / metabolism
  • Cough / etiology
  • Cough / metabolism
  • Cough / physiopathology*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology
  • N-Methylaspartate / metabolism
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Reflex*


  • N-Methylaspartate
  • Capsaicin
  • Bradykinin