Afferent pathways regulating the cough reflex

Brendan J. Canning, Stuart B. Mazzone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Coughing occurs as a consequence of aspiration, particulate matter, pathogens, accumulated secretions, inflammation, and mediators associated with inflammation. The elderly, newborns, lung transplant patients, and patients with paralysis or neuromuscular disorders have a poorly developed and/or compromised cough reflex and are rendered highly susceptible to lung infections and aspiration pneumonia (1-4). Under normal conditions, therefore, coughing serves an important protective role in the airways and lungs. In diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and rhinitis, however, cough may become excessive and nonproductive, and is potentially harmful to the airway mucosa (4). These contrasting consequences of coughing highlight the difficulty associated with developing therapeutic strategies that prevent exces sive and nonproductive cough, while preserving the important innate defensive role of this respiratory reflex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAcute and Chronic Cough
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780849351709
ISBN (Print)0824759583, 9780824759582
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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