Cough and expiration reflexes elicited by inhaled irritant gases are intensified in ovalbumin-sensitized mice

Cheng Zhang, Ruei Lung Lin, Jeff Hong, Mehdi Khosravi, Lu Yuan Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This study was designed to determine the effect of active sensitization with ovalbumin (Ova) on cough responses to inhaled irritant gases in mice. Conscious mice moved freely in a recording chamber, while the pressure change in the chamber and audio and video signals of the mouse movements were recorded simultaneously to measure the frequencies of cough reflex (CR) and expiration reflex (ER). To further verify the accuracy of cough analysis, the intrapleural pressure was also recorded by a telemetry sensor surgically implanted in the intrapleural space in a subgroup of mice. During the irritant gas inhalation challenge, sulfur dioxide (SO2; 200 and 400 ppm) or ammonia (NH3; 0.1% and 0.2%) was drawn into the chamber at a constant flow rate for 8 min. Ova sensitization and sham sensitization with vehicle (Veh) were performed over a 25-day period in separate groups of mice. Our results showed that 1) both SO2 and NH3 inhalation challenges increased CR and ER frequencies in a concentration-dependent manner before Ova sensitization; 2) the baseline CR frequency was significantly elevated after Ova sensitization, accompanied by pronounced airway inflammation; and 3) Ova sensitization also markedly augmented the responses of CR and ER to both SO2 and NH3 inhalation challenges; in sharp contrast, the cough responses did not change after sham sensitization in the Veh group. In conclusion, Ova sensitization caused distinct and lingering increases in baseline cough frequency, and also intensified both CR and ER responses to inhaled irritant gases, which probably resulted from an allergic inflammation-induced hypersensitivity of airway sensory nerves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R718-R726
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 the American Physiological Society.


  • Airway
  • Allergen
  • Cough
  • Inflammation
  • Inhaled irritants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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