To investigate the mechanism of the airway narrowing induced by cigarette smoke, anaesthetized guinea pigs were exposed to 200 puffs of smoke for 10 min. Airway narrowing was assessed by monitoring the total pulmonary resistance (R(L)). Plasma extravasation was determined by measuring the amount of Evans blue dye extravasated into the trachea and main bronchi. Exposure to cigarette smoke caused a marked airway narrowing and plasma extravasation. Pretreatment with the dual NK1, and NK2, receptor antagonist, FK224, abolished such airway narrowing and significantly inhibited the extravasation. While the NK1 receptor antagonist, FK888, inhibited the extravasation, it had no effect on airway narrowing. Atropine partially inhibited airway narrowing without affecting extravasation. Results suggest that the airway narrowing induced by cigarette smoke is caused by tachykinins, and that a cholinergic pathway is involved. Thickening of the airway walls induced by NK1 receptor-mediated extravasation may not be involved in such airway narrowing.
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