Hypo-osmolar aerosol induces hyperventilation in chronic non-asthmatic rhinitics

Respir Med. 1998 Jan;92(1):9-13. doi: 10.1016/s0954-6111(98)90024-5.


The effect of a hypo-osmolar aerosol on transcutaneous O2 and CO2 time course (PtcO2, PtcCO2) was investigated in subjects affected by chronic non-atopic rhinitis, without any history of asthmatic symptoms and no airways hyper-responsiveness. Twelve normal subjects and 12 subjects affected by chronic idiopathic rhinitis, who had normal responsiveness to both hypo-osmolar aerosol and methacholine challenge as measured by the decrease in FEV1 (mean FEV1 decrease = 5% and PC20 > 16 mg, respectively) were studied. By means of a transcutaneous mono-electrode, it was possible to study the time course of PtcO2 and PtcCO2 during and after a 5-min inhalation of ultrasonically nebulized distilled water (output 2 ml/min-1). A significant decrease in PtcCO2 and increase in PtcO2 were observed during the challenge in rhinitics as compared with normal subjects [maximum decrease and maximum increase expressed as mean value (+/- SD) were -22% (+/- 6.9) and +12.6% (+/- 7.2), respectively]. No significant changes in either PtcCO2 and PtcO2 were observed after the test. The results of this study suggest that patients affected by idiopathic chronic rhinitis with absence of bronchial hyper-responsiveness may present a hyperventilatory response to the inhalation of hypo-osmolar aerosol; the mechanism of such a response might be due to an upregulation of the irritant receptors of the upper airways.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aerosols / adverse effects*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Blood Gas Monitoring, Transcutaneous
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperventilation / blood
  • Hyperventilation / etiology*
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Rhinitis / blood
  • Rhinitis / physiopathology*
  • Spirometry


  • Aerosols