Clearance in smaller airways of inhaled 6-microm particles in subjects with immotile-cilia syndrome

Exp Lung Res. Sep-Oct 1995;21(5):667-82. doi: 10.3109/01902149509050835.


In subjects with an inherited lack of mucociliary transport, so called immotile-cilia syndrome (ICS), coughing effectively clears particles deposited in larger airways of the tracheobronchial region. The present study investigated clearance in smaller airways of 111In-labeled 6-microm (aerodynamic diameter) monodisperse Teflon particles in six subjects with ICS. The particles were inhaled at an extremely slow flow, 0.05 L/s. Theoretical calculations and experimental data in healthy subjects using this slow flow support particle deposition mainly in smaller ciliated airways, i.e., in bronchioli (generations 12-16). This contrasts with the more centrally deposited pattern obtained using a normal inhalation flow, 0.5 L/s. Lung retention was measured at 0, 24, 48,72 and 96 h. Clearance was significant every 24 h measured over the first 72 h, whereupon it slowed down. The fractions of retained particles were significantly (p < .01) larger than those found for healthy subjects using the slow inhalation flow and those found for ICS subjects using a normal inhalation flow. The results indicate that clearance of particles in smaller airways is incomplete and that cough cannot fully compensate for the lack of mucociliary transport in this region.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aerosols
  • Bronchi / physiopathology*
  • Ciliary Motility Disorders / genetics
  • Ciliary Motility Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Cough / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological
  • Mucociliary Clearance*
  • Particle Size
  • Polytetrafluoroethylene
  • Pulmonary Ventilation
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Time Factors


  • Aerosols
  • Polytetrafluoroethylene