Magnesium sulfate has been shown to be effective clinically as a bronchodilator, but its mechanism of action is unknown. We used a wedged bronchoscope technique to study the ability of MgSO4 at clinically relevant concentrations to attenuate hypocapnia-, acetylcholine- (ACh), and dry air-induced bronchoconstriction in the canine lung periphery. Control experiments demonstrated that consecutive challenges of either hypocapnia or ACh resulted in greater collateral system resistance (Rcs) after the second challenge compared with the first. Intravenous infusion of MgSO4 diminished the maximum response to a second hypocapnic challenge (Rcs = 1.59 ± 0.29 cmH2O·ml-1·s prechallenge vs. 1.12 ± 0.20 postchallenge) but had no effect on either ACh- or dry air-induced bronchoconstriction. Serum magnesium levels before MgSO4 administration were 1.59 ± 0.04 meq/l and rose to 6.20 ± 0.13 during the infusion. Previous studies demonstrated that nifedipine, like MgSO4 in this study, attenuates hypocapnia-induced bronchoconstriction in the canine lung periphery but has no effect on ACh- or dry air-induced bronchoconstriction. We conclude that these results are consistent with the idea that, like nifedipine, magnesium acts in the airway as a voltage-sensitive calcium channel blocker.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)