Role of pulmonary C fibers in adenosine-induced respiratory inhibition in anesthetized rats

Kevin Kwong, J. U.Lun Hong, Robert F. Morton, L. U.Yuan Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The clinical use of adenosine is commonly associated with pulmonary side effects, namely dyspnea, that suggest the possible involvement of bronchopulmonary sensory afferents. Our objective in this study was to characterize the effects of adenosine on breathing and to determine whether the vagal pulmonary afferents play a role in mediating these effects. We measured respiratory and cardiovascular changes in anesthetized, spontaneously breathing rats after bolus injections of adenosine at therapeutic doses. Right atrial injection of adenosine (0.04-0.6 mg/kg) elicits, in a dose-dependent manner, a pulmonary chemoreflex-like response consisting of a delayed apnea, bradycardia, and hypotension. In contrast, the classic capsaicin-elicited pulmonary chemoreflex occurs immediately after injection. Perineural capsaicin treatment of the cervical vagi blocked the adenosine-induced respiratory inhibition. Left ventricular administration of adenosine failed to elicit an apneic response. Pretreatment with the adenosine A1-receptor antagonist 8-cyclopentyl-1,3-dipropylxanthine attenuated the adenosine-induced apnea. These results indicate that adenosine elicits a respiratory inhibition via stimulation of pulmonary C fibers and that activation of the A1-receptor is probably involved. It is unclear, however, what accounts for the exceedingly long latency in this response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-424
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1998


  • 8-cyclopentyl- 1,3-dipropylxanthine
  • A-receptor
  • Dyspnea
  • Pulmonary chemoreflex
  • Vagus nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Role of pulmonary C fibers in adenosine-induced respiratory inhibition in anesthetized rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this