Effect of C-fiber-mediated, ozone-induced rapid shallow breathing on airway epithelial injury in rats

Edward S Schelegle, M. F. Alfaro, L. Putney, M. Stovall, N. Tyler, D. M. Hyde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


We examined the relationship between C-fiber-mediated, ozone-induced rapid shallow breathing and airway epithelial cell injury at different airway sites within the lower respiratory tract of conscious Wistar rats (n = 24). We combined an acute 8-h ozone inhalation with vagal perineural capsaicin treatment, a selective C-fiber conduction block, and 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine (BrdU) labeling as an index of epithelial injury. Vehicle-treated rats that inhaled ozone developed a rapid shallow breathing pattern during ozone inhalation, whereas the capsaicin-treated rats that inhaled ozone showed no changes in respiratory frequency. In vehicle-treated, ozone-exposed rats that developed rapid shallow breathing, a progressive increase in BrdU-labeling density (no. of BrdU-labeled cells/mm2 airway) was observed starting at the bifurcation of the left main stem bronchi (central airway) and going down either a short or long airway path. In vehicle-treated, ozone-exposed rats, terminal bronchioles supplied by short and long airway paths had a similar degree of BrdU-labeling density that was significantly (P < 0.05) greater than the BrdU-labeling density of the proximal airways that supply them. In contrast, the attenuation of rapid shallow breathing produced by capsaicin treatment resulted in a significantly reduced BrdU-labeling density in the terminal bronchioles supplied by short airway paths compared with the terminal bronchioles supplied by long airway paths. Our data indicate that ozone-induced rapid shallow breathing protects large conducting airways while producing a more even distribution of injury to terminal bronchioles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1611-1618
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001


  • 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine
  • Capsaicin
  • Terminal bronchioles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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