Bronchial responsiveness to histamine in infants and older children

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1990 Nov;142(5):1143-6. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/142.5.1143.


Normal infants have been shown to respond to a relatively low concentration of inhaled histamine. However, those studies used partial maximal expiratory flow volume (PMEFV) curves to assess lung function. In order to directly compare responsiveness between infants and older children, we compared bronchial responsiveness to histamine between a group of 45 normal infants, median age 4 wk (range 2 to 6 wk) and a group of 30 nonasthmatic older children, median age 10 yr (range 5 to 15 yr) using PMEFV curves in both groups to assess lung function. In the infant group, PMEFV curves were generated using the forced expiratory flow volume technique. For the older children, PMEFV curves were generated by voluntary effort. The provocative concentration of histamine that produced a 40% fall (PC40) in maximum flow at functional residual capacity (VmaxFRC) was calculated from the PMEFV curves. The geometric mean PC40 of the infants (1.02 g/L) was lower than the geometric mean of the older children (3.4 g/L) (p less than 0.001). However, these results were then corrected for dilution of the aerosol due to air entrainment (AE). Corrected values of PC40 were not significantly different between infants and older children. These results demonstrate the importance of accounting for AE in the evaluation of histamine responsiveness and suggest that bronchial responsiveness may be similar in normal infants and older children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / genetics
  • Bronchi / drug effects*
  • Bronchi / physiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Forced Expiratory Flow Rates
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Functional Residual Capacity
  • Histamine / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Histamine