Epithelium in airways, like endothelium in blood vessels, may regulate responses of adjacent smooth muscle. To study the intact trachea from guinea pigs we developed an in vitro preparation that permits independent stimulation from either the inner epithelial surface or the outer serosal surface. The whole guinea pig trachea was excised, cannulated, and perfused at a constant flow with Krebs-Henseleit (KH) solution that was in direct contact with the inner epithelial-lined surface. The outer serosal surface of the trachea was immersed in a separate system (bath) containing KH solution. Tracheal responses were assessed by measuring the pressure drop between the tracheal inlet and the outlet under conditions of constant flow. When the trachea was precontracted with carbachol or KCl, hyperosmolar stimuli (KCl, mannitol, urea, or NaCl) produced concentration-dependent relaxation when applied to the inner epithelial surface. Relaxation was not produced when the hyperosmolar stimulus was applied to the serosal surface and was markedly reduced or abolished when the epithelial surface has been physically damaged or removed. These results indicate that hyperosmotic stimuli induce epithelial-dependent relaxation of trachea. A defect in this mechanism may be partially responsible for the bronchoconstriction seen in asthmatic subjects after exercise.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)