Breathing hot humid air induces airway irritation and cough in patients with allergic rhinitis

Mehdi Khosravi, Paul B. Collins, Ruei Lung Lin, Don Hayes, Jaclyn A. Smith, Lu Yuan Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


We studied the respiratory responses to an increase in airway temperature in patients with allergic rhinitis (AR). Responses to isocapnic hyperventilation (40% of maximal voluntary ventilation) for 4. min of humidified hot air (HA; 49. °C) and room air (RA; 21. °C) were compared between AR patients (n= 7) and healthy subjects (n= 6). In AR patients, cough frequency increased pronouncedly from 0.10 ± 0.07 before to 2.37 ± 0.73 during, and 1.80 ± 0.79. coughs/min for the first 8. min after the HA challenge, but not during the RA challenge. In contrast, neither HA nor RA had any significant tussive effect in healthy subjects. The HA challenge also caused respiratory discomfort (mainly throat irritation) measured by the handgrip dynamometry in AR patients, but not in healthy subjects. Bronchoconstriction was not detected after the HA challenge in either group of subjects. In conclusion, hyperventilation of HA triggered vigorous cough response and throat irritation in AR patients, indicating the involvement of sensory nerves innervating upper airways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-19
Number of pages7
JournalRespiratory Physiology and Neurobiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported in part by the NIH grants HL-67379 and HL-96914 (to L.Y.L.), Department of Defense DMRDP/ARATD award administered by the U.S. Army Medical Research & Materiel Command (USAMRMC) Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) under Contract Number W81XWH-10-2-0189 (to L.Y.L.), University of Kentucky Clinical Research Development & Operations Center grant UL1TR000117 and Kentucky Pediatric Research Institute support (to D.H.).


  • Airway irritation
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Cough
  • Laryngeal
  • TRPV1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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