Pressure--volume relationships of tracheae in fetal newborn and adult rabbits

Respir Physiol. 1981 Mar;43(3):221-31. doi: 10.1016/0034-5687(81)90104-3.


The physical properties of the trachea in fetal, newborn, and adult rabbits change with age. Tracheal dimensions and pressure--volume relationships were determined in excised tracheae at a wide developmental age range (from early gestational age to infancy and adulthood). At intraluminal pressures of 0 to 10 cm H2O, the tracheal specific compliance was 0.089 (cm H2O)(-1) for a 21 day old fetus. By adulthood, the tracheal specific compliance decreased five fold to 0.017 (cm H2O)(-1); a dramatic proportion of this reduction occurred during fetal life itself, followed by a steady, progressive decline to adult age. The volume of the tracheal segment, at intraluminal pressure of 20 cm H2O, increased by 29% (adult), 41.5% (31 day fetus) and 113% (21 day fetus). Developmental alterations in the specific airway compliance suggest significant changes in anatomical dead space would occur as a function of maturation and airway transmural pressure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / physiology*
  • Rabbits
  • Respiratory Physiological Phenomena*
  • Trachea / physiology*