Airway smooth muscle shortening in excised canine lung lobes

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1993 Apr;74(4):1613-21. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1993.74.4.1613.


To estimate the importance of lung parenchymal airway interdependence in attenuating airway narrowing, airway smooth muscle shortening in response to nebulized carbachol was measured in excised canine lung lobes and compared with the calculated load applied by lung elastic recoil. Pulmonary resistance of matched right and left upper lobes of five dogs was measured in a pressure-compensated volume plethysmograph by forced oscillation (6 Hz) before and after administration of an aerosol of carbachol (250 mg/ml) or saline. Matched lobes were studied at transpulmonary pressures (PL) of 5, 7, 10, 12, and 15 cmH2O. The lungs were then fixed at that PL by pulmonary arterial perfusion with formaldehyde, and cross sections of multiple airways from each lobe (n = 275) were examined by use of morphometric techniques to measure luminal area and smooth muscle length. By use of the saline lobe as a control, percentage of muscle shortening and decrease in airway lumen area caused by carbachol could be calculated. Passive and active smooth muscle stresses in each airway were calculated from PL and the calculated change in peribronchial pressure for a given change in airway diameter. The increase in pulmonary resistance and average smooth muscle shortening after administration of carbachol was greater in lobes held at lower PL. There was marked variation in narrowing between airways within a lobe: smooth muscle shortening ranged between 0 and 65% but averaged < 45% at all levels of PL.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Airway Resistance / drug effects
  • Airway Resistance / physiology
  • Animals
  • Carbachol / pharmacology
  • Dogs
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Lung Compliance / drug effects
  • Lung Compliance / physiology
  • Muscle Contraction / drug effects
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Smooth / drug effects
  • Muscle, Smooth / physiology
  • Respiratory Mechanics / drug effects
  • Respiratory Mechanics / physiology
  • Respiratory Muscles / drug effects
  • Respiratory Muscles / physiology*


  • Carbachol