Backgronnd Previous studies have indicated that the increased airway resistance that develops in asthma may partly be due to a surfactant dysfunction. If so. it might be possible to alleviate the acute signs following an allergen challenge by prophylactically instilling into the airways a well functioning pulmonary surfactant.
Objective The study was planned and enacted to test the above hypothesis. Methods The lung function (airway resistance, tidal volume, minute ventilation, and dynamic compliance) of 22 immunized guinea-pigs was studied for 30min following a challenge. Ten of the animals had received a tracheal instillation of 0.5 ml. calf lung surfaetant extract (CLSE, 35mg/mL) prior to the challenge.
Results The animals receiving the dose of 17.5 mg surfactant were less affected by the challenge than were the controls. Onty one of them died following the challenge, whereas four of the 12 controls succumbed. Lung function was significantly less affected among the nine surviving animals treated with surfactant prior to the challenge than among the eight surviving controls (P< 0.01) and also their blood gases (pCO2 and pO2) were less influenced (P<0.05).
Conclusion The study indicated that the symptoms developing after a challenge. which to some extent simulate those ot asthma. can be alleviated by a prophylactic airway instillation of pulmonary surfactant.
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