Histamine Bronchoconstriction Reduces Airway Responsiveness in Asthmatic Subjects
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Tachyphylaxis occurs to repeated challenges with inhaled histamine but not with inhaled acetylcholine in asthmatic subjects. This study was undertaken to determine whether prior histamine bronchoconstriction reduces airway responsiveness to inhaled acetylcholine in mild asthmatic subjects demonstrating histamine tachyphylaxis. All subjects developed histamine tachyphylaxis with repeated histamine challenge. The mean histamine PC20 increased from 3.74 to 5.92 mg/ml (p less than 0.005) when the histamine challenges were separated by 1 h. Prior acetylcholine bronchoconstriction did not reduce airway responsiveness to subsequent inhalation of either acetylcholine or histamine in these subjects. However, histamine inhalation did reduce airway responsiveness to acetylcholine in all subjects. The mean acetylcholine PC20 following acetylcholine inhalation was 3.37 mg/ml (%SD 2.17) and this increased to 7.76 mg/ml (%SD 1.80) after histamine inhalation (p less than 0.0005). Thus, this study demonstrates that prior histamine, but not acetylcholine, bronchoconstriction can partially protect against bronchoconstriction caused by both histamine and acetylcholine. Therefore, reduced airway responsiveness caused by histamine bronchoconstriction is specific for histamine and is not due to bronchoconstriction per se. However, the reduced airway responsiveness following histamine bronchoconstriction, is nonspecific.
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