Cough receptor sensitivity and bronchial responsiveness in patients with only chronic nonproductive cough: in view of effect of bronchodilator therapy

J Asthma. 1994;31(6):463-72. doi: 10.3109/02770909409089488.


Twenty-two patients with only chronic nonproductive cough lasting for more than 2 months were prospectively examined to determine whether airway cough receptor sensitivity and bronchial responsiveness relate to the efficacy of bronchodilator therapy on the cough. Clenbuterol (10 micrograms, 4 times a day for 1 week) was effective on the cough in 10 patients (group 2) but not in the other 12 patients (group 1). Cough threshold to inhaled capsaicin was significantly less in group 1 than in group 2 at the first visit but not after the therapy when the cough stopped. Bronchial responsiveness to methacholine (PC20-FEV1) was not heightened in group 1, while that in group 2 was hyperreactive. These findings suggest that nonproductive cough is elicited based on two different mechanisms: (1) heightened airway cough receptor sensitivity in bronchodilator-resistant cough and (2) bronchoconstriction in bronchodilator-responsive cough such as cough-variant asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / drug therapy
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Capsaicin
  • Chronic Disease
  • Clenbuterol / therapeutic use*
  • Cough / chemically induced
  • Cough / drug therapy*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methacholine Chloride
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / drug effects*
  • Sputum / microbiology


  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Methacholine Chloride
  • Capsaicin
  • Clenbuterol