Multiple mechanisms of reflex bronchospasm in guinea pigs

Brendan J. Canning, Sandra M. Reynolds, Stuart B. Mazzone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The mechanisms of histamine- and bradykinin-induced reflex bronchospasm were determined in anesthetized guinea pigs. With intravenous administration, both autacoids evoked dose-dependent increases in tracheal cholinergic tone. Vagotomy or atropine prevented these tracheal reflexes. When delivered as an aerosol, bradykinin readily increased tracheal cholinergic tone, whereas histamine aerosols were much less effective at inducing tracheal reflexes. Also, unlike histamine, bradykinin could evoke profound increases in cholinergic tone without directly or indirectly (e.g., prostanoid dependent) inducing measurable airway smooth muscle contraction resulting in bronchospasm. Neither autacoid required de novo synthesis of prostanoids or nitric oxide to induce reflex tracheal contractions. Combined cyclooxygenase inhibition and tachykinin-receptor antagonism did, however, abolish all effects of bradykinin in the airways, whereas responses to histamine were unaffected by these pretreatments. The data indicate that histamine and bradykinin initiate reflex bronchospasm by differential activation of vagal afferent nerve subtypes. We speculate that selective activation of either airway C fibers or airway rapid adapting receptors can initiate reflex bronchospasm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2642-2653
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 13 2001



  • Autonomic
  • Bradykinin
  • Histamine
  • Parasympathetic
  • Tachykinins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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