Airway narrowing and response to simulated deep inspiration in bronchial segments from subjects with fixed airflow obstruction

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Abstract

Airway narrowing and response to simulated deep inspiration in bronchial segments from subjects with fixed airflow obstruction. J Appl Physiol 128: 757 767, 2020. First published February 27, 2020; doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00439.2019. The volume fraction of extracellular matrix (ECM) within the layer of airway smooth muscle (ASM) is increased in subjects with fixed airflow obstruction. We postulated that changes in ECM within the ASM layer will impact force transmission during induced contraction and/or in response to externally applied stresses like a deep inspiration (DI). Subjects were patients undergoing lung resection surgery who were categorized as unobstructed (n = 12) or fixed obstructed (n = 6) on the basis of preoperative spirometry. The response to a DI, assessed by the ratio of isovolumic flows from maximal and partial inspirations (M/P), was also measured preoperatively. M/P was reduced in the obstructed group (P = 0.02). Postoperatively, bronchial segments were obtained from resected tissue, and luminal narrowing to acetylcholine and bronchodilation to simulated DI were assessed in vitro. Airway wall dimensions and the volume fraction of ECM within the ASM were quantified. Maximal airway narrowing to acetylcholine (P = 0.01) and the volume fraction of ECM within the ASM layer (P = 0.02) were increased in the obstructed group, without a change in ASM thickness. Whereas bronchodilation to simulated DI in vitro was not different between obstructed and unobstructed groups, it was correlated with increased M/P (bronchodilation/less bronchoconstriction) in vivo (P = 0.03). The volume fraction of ECM was inversely related to forced expiratory volume in 1 s FEV1 %predicted (P = 0.04) and M/P (P = 0.01). Results show that in subjects with fixed airflow obstruction the mechanical behavior of the airway wall is altered and there is a contemporaneous shift in the structural composition of the ASM layer. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Cartilaginous airways from subjects with fixed airflow obstruction have an increase in the volume fraction of extracellular matrix within the airway smooth muscle layer. These airways are also intrinsically more reactive to a contractile stimulus, which is expected to contribute to airway hyperresponsiveness in this population, often attributed to geometric mechanisms. In view of these results, we speculate on how changes in extracellular matrix may impact airway mechanics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)757-767
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Volume128
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

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