The role of mucus sol phase in clearance by simulated cough

Biorheology. 1989;26(4):747-52. doi: 10.3233/bir-1989-26407.


Using a simulated cough machine, we analyzed the effect of adding tensio-active liquids as sol phase simulant on the clearance of gel mucus simulant by cough. Polysaccharides crosslinked with sodium tetraborate were used at different concentration as gel mucus simulant. A drop of gel mucus simulant was deposited either directly on the model trachea or on a sol phase layer simulant (2% sodium dodecyl sulfate in water). The clearance of the mucus simulants was quantified by observing the movement of marker particles in the gel layer. The viscoelastic properties of gel mucus simulants were determined by using a viscoelastometer (SEFAM). The adhesive properties were analyzed by means of the platinum ring technique. The wettability of the mucus simulants was quantified by the automatic measurement of the contact angle of the drop of gel on the model trachea. We found that the addition of a sol phase significantly decreased by about 50% the adhesivity and wettability of the gel mucus simulants. This decrease was associated with a marked enhancement of cough clearance, whatever the viscoelastic properties of the gel mucus simulants. These results suggest that the sol phase is essential in bronchial respiratory mucus clearance by the cough mechanism.

MeSH terms

  • Adhesiveness
  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Biophysics
  • Cough / physiopathology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Mucociliary Clearance / physiology*
  • Mucus / physiology*
  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate
  • Surface Tension
  • Viscosity


  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate