Differential effects of airway anesthesia on ozone-induced pulmonary responses in human subjects

Edward S Schelegle, M. W. Eldridge, Carroll E Cross, W. F. Walby, W. C. Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We examined the effect of tetracaine aerosol inhalation, a local anesthetic, on lung volume decrements, rapid shallow breathing, and subjective symptoms of breathing discomfort induced by the acute inhalation of 0.30 ppm ozone for 65 min in 22 ozone-sensitive healthy human subjects. After 50 min of ozone inhalation FEV1 was reduced 24%, breathing frequency was increased 40%, tidal volume was decreased 31%, and total subjective symptom score was increased (71.2, compared with 3.8 for filtered air exposure). Inhalation of tetracaine aerosol resulted in marked reductions in ozone-induced subjective symptoms of throat tickle and/or irritation (92.1%), cough (78.5%), shortness of breath (72.5%), and pain on deep inspiration (69.4%). In contrast, inhalation of tetracaine aerosol (mass median aerodynamic diameter of 3.52 μm with a geometric standard deviation of 1.92) resulted in only minor and inconsistent rectification of FEV1 decrements (5.0%) and breathing frequency (-3.8%) that was not significantly different from that produced by saline aerosol alone (FEV1, 5.1% and breathing frequency, -2.7%). Our data are consistent with afferent endings located within the large conducting airways of the tracheobronchial tree being primarily responsible for ozone-induced subjective symptoms and provides strong evidence that ozone-induced inhibition of maximal inspiratory effort is not dependent on conscious sensations of inspiratory discomfort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1121-1127
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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