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Immunology - Physiology - Respiratory Medicine

Site of Allergic Airway Narrowing and the Influence of Exogenous Surfactant in the Brown Norway Rat
Published: Thursday, January 19, 2012
Author: Sana Siddiqui et al.

by Sana Siddiqui, Kimitake Tsuchiya, Paul-André Risse, Sharon R. Bullimore, Andrea Benedetti, James G. Martin


The parameters RN (Newtonian resistance), G (tissue damping), and H (tissue elastance) of the constant phase model of respiratory mechanics provide information concerning the site of altered mechanical properties of the lung. The aims of this study were to compare the site of allergic airway narrowing implied from respiratory mechanics to a direct assessment by morphometry and to evaluate the effects of exogenous surfactant administration on the site and magnitude of airway narrowing.


We induced airway narrowing by ovalbumin sensitization and challenge and we tested the effects of a natural surfactant lacking surfactant proteins A and D (Infasurf®) on airway responses. Sensitized, mechanically ventilated Brown Norway rats underwent an aerosol challenge with 5% ovalbumin or vehicle. Other animals received nebulized surfactant prior to challenge. Three or 20 minutes after ovalbumin challenge, airway luminal areas were assessed on snap-frozen lungs by morphometry.


At 3 minutes, RN and G detected large airway narrowing whereas at 20 minutes G and H detected small airway narrowing. Surfactant inhibited RN at the peak of the early allergic response and ovalbumin-induced increase in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid cysteinyl leukotrienes and amphiregulin but not IgE-induced mast cell activation in vitro.


Allergen challenge triggers the rapid onset of large airway narrowing, detected by RN and G, and subsequent peripheral airway narrowing detected by G and H. Surfactant inhibits airway narrowing and reduces mast cell-derived mediators.