Intravenous papain-induced cartilage softening decreases preload of tracheal smooth muscle

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1989 Apr;66(4):1694-8. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1989.66.4.1694.


To study the interaction between tracheal cartilage and the trachealis muscle we measured trachealis muscle contraction in response to electrical field stimulation and methacholine in excised tracheal segments from control and papain-treated rabbits. Papain treatment softened the tracheal cartilage and altered the passive pressure volume curve of the tracheal segments at transmural pressures below 5 cmH2O. The transmural pressure required for maximal active changes in volume (isobaric contraction) with electrical field stimulation was increased in papain-treated animals. We conclude that tracheal cartilage provides a preload which stretches the trachealis muscle toward optimal length and that papain, by altering the elastic mechanical properties of cartilage, decreases this preload.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cartilage / drug effects*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Muscle, Smooth / physiology*
  • Papain / administration & dosage
  • Papain / pharmacology*
  • Rabbits
  • Trachea / physiology*


  • Papain