Adhesiveness and purulence of respiratory secretions: implications for mucociliary transport in patients with bronchiectasis

J Bras Pneumol. 2010 Sep-Oct;36(5):545-53. doi: 10.1590/s1806-37132010000500005.
[Article in English, Portuguese]


Objective: To analyze and compare the transport properties of respiratory secretions, classified by selected parameters, in individuals with bronchiectasis unrelated to cystic fibrosis.

Methods: We collected mucus samples from 35 individuals with bronchiectasis unrelated to cystic fibrosis. The samples were first classified by their surface properties (adhesive or nonadhesive), as well as by their aspect (mucoid or purulent). We then tested the samples regarding relative transport velocity (RTV), displacement in a simulated cough machine (SCM), and contact angle (CA). For the proposed comparisons, we used ANOVA models, with a level of significance set at 5%.

Results: In comparison with nonadhesive samples, adhesive samples showed significantly less displacement in the SCM, as well as a significantly higher CA (6.52 ± 1.88 cm vs. 8.93 ± 2.81 cm and 27.08 ± 6.13º vs. 22.53 ± 5.92º, respectively; p < 0.05 for both). The same was true in the comparison between purulent and mucoid samples (7.57 ± 0.22 cm vs. 9.04 ± 2.48 cm and 25.61 ± 6.12º vs. 21.71 ± 5.89º; p < 0.05 for both). There were no significant differences in RTV among the groups of samples, although the values were low regardless of the surface properties (adhesive: 0.81 ± 0.20; nonadhesive: 0.68 ± 0.24) or the aspect (purulent: 0.74 ± 0.22; mucoid:

Conclusions: The respiratory secretions of patients with bronchiectasis showed decreased mucociliary transport. Increased adhesiveness and purulence cause the worsening of transport properties, as demonstrated by the lesser displacement in the SCM and the higher CA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adhesiveness
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bodily Secretions / physiology
  • Bronchiectasis / complications
  • Bronchiectasis / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucociliary Clearance / physiology*
  • Mucus / physiology*
  • Suppuration / physiopathology