Hyperoxia - A model to study the role of airway smooth muscle on bronchial hyperresponsiveness

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Exposure of small animals to high oxygen concentrations can induce morphological and functional changes usually found in the airways of patients with bronchopulmonary dysplasia and asthma. This led to the use of animal models based on exposure to high concentrations of oxygen in order to study the relation between these airway changes and the development of hyperresponsiveness. During the last ten years several studies, using in vivo and in vitro techniques, have shown a close association between cholinergic responsiveness and airway wall remodeling in rats exposed to high levels of oxygen in the inspired air. However, the comparison and interpretation of the results obtained by the various groups is often a difficult task due to the methodological differences found between the protocols. The objective of this paper is to synthesize the information concerning the hyperoxia exposure techniques, the airway challenging agents used and their methods of administration and also the parameters used to measure the responses. It is also included a review of the criteria that determined the choice of particular animal species, the stage of development more often chosen to begin the hyperoxic exposure and also its biological effects on the structure and function of the airways. It is concluded conclude that the hyperoxic rat is a suitable model to evaluate the mechanisms involved in bronchial responsiveness, in particular the contribution of the qualitative and quantitative changes occurring in the airway smooth muscle.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)223-235
Number of pages13
JournalRevista Portuguesa de Pneumologia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Animal models
  • Asthma
  • Brochopulmonary displasia
  • Cholinergic agonists
  • Oxygen
  • Reactivity
  • Sensitivity


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