1998 Volume 48 Issue 5 Pages 341-345
This study tested the hypothesis that the afferent input from the respiratory muscles may be involved in the neural mechanisms inducing cough responses. Coughing was evoked in conscious healthy humans by the inhalation of citric acid aerosol of several concentrations either during or not during chest wall vibration (100 Hz) at the right second intercostal space or during vibration of the right thigh. The mean threshold citric acid concentration to induce coughing was significantly higher during chest wall vibration (geometric mean, 131.8 mg/ml) than without vibration (75.9 mg/ml). Vibration after topical anesthesia of the chest wall skin did not significantly change the threshold concentration of citric acid. The threshold citric acid concentration during vibration of the right thigh did not significantly differ from that without vibration. We concluded that inputs from the chest wall afferent, presumably from the intercostal muscle or costovertebral joint, may have an inhibitory effect on the initiation of coughing at the higher neural structure in conscious humans.