The characteristics of airway responsiveness to acetylcholine (ACh) in congenitally bronchial-hypersensitive (BHS) and bronchial-hyposensitive (BHR) guinea pigs were clarified in vivo and in vitro. We measured the change in ventilatory mechanics in response to ACh inhalation by means of the bodyplethysmograph and the contractile responses of isolated trachea to ACh and carbachol (CCh). Further, muscarinic receptor subtypes involved these responses were identified. The basal values for ventilatory mechanics in BHS were not significantly different from those in BHR. Respiratory resistance to ACh was progressively increased in a time- and dose-dependent manner in BHS. The contractile responses of tracheal smooth muscle to ACh in BHS were significantly greater than those in BHR, but CCh-induced responses in BHS and BHR were similar. ACh- and CCh-induced contractions were mediated via M3 receptors. These results suggested that the falling-down of BHS in response to ACh inhalation was caused by the strong constriction of the airway and the reduction in ventilation. Moreover, the airway hyperresponsiveness to ACh in BHS might be partly dependent on the change in acetylcholinesterase activity.
1998 Japanese Association for Laboratory Animal Science