Interaction between CO2 concentration and flow rate on peripheral airway resistance

A. Kaise, A. N. Freed, W. Mitzner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In the present study, we investigated the interaction between CO2 concentration and rate of delivered flow on peripheral airway resistance (Rp) in the intact canine lung. Dogs were anesthetized, intubated, paralyzed, and mechanically ventilated with room air to maintain end-tidal CO2 between 4.8 and 5.2%. Using a wedged bronchoscope technique, we measured Rp at functional residual capacity. The relationship between CO2 concentration and Rp was measured at flow rates of 100 and 400 ml/min with 5, 3, 2, 1, and 0% CO2 in air. Measurements were made at the end of a 3-min exposure to each gas. At low flow rates (100 ml/min) responses to hypocapnia were small, whereas at high flow rates (400 ml/min) responses were large. The PC50 (defined as the CO2 concentration required to produce a 50% increase in Rp above baseline Rp established on 5% CO2) at 400 ml/min (1.73%) was significantly larger than that at 100 ml/min (0.38%). We also directly measured the relationship between Rp and flow rate with 5% CO2 (normocapnia) or 1% CO2 (hypocapnia) delivered into the wedged segment. Increases in normocapnic flow caused small but significant decreases in Rp. In contrast, increases in hypocapnic flow from 100 to 400 ml/min caused a 108% increase in Rp. Thus the response to hypocapnia is augmented by increasing flow rate. This interaction can be explained by a simple model that considers the effect of local ventilation-perfusion ratio and gas mixing on the local CO2 concentration at the site of peripheral airway contraction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2514-2521
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1991


  • airway resistance
  • collateral resistance
  • collateral ventilation
  • hypocapnia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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