Mechanistic studies of acid-evoked coughing in anesthetized guinea pigs

Brendan J. Canning, David G. Farmer, Nanako Mori

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Experiments carried out in conscious guinea pigs suggest that citric acid-evoked coughing is partly mediated by transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) receptor-dependent activation of tachykinin-containing, capsaicin-sensitive C fibers. In vitro electrophysiological analyses indicate, however, that acid also activates capsaicin-sensitive and -insensitive vagal afferent nerves by a TRPV1-independent mechanism, and studies in anesthetized guinea pigs show that coughing evoked by acid is mediated by activation of capsaicinin-sensitive vagal afferent nerves. In the present study, we have characterized the mechanisms of citric acid-evoked coughing in anesthetized guinea pigs. Drugs were administered directly to the Krebs buffer perfusing the extrathoracic trachea. Citric acid was applied topically to the tracheal mucosa, directly into the tracheal perfusate in increasing concentrations and at 1-min intervals. Citric acid dose dependently evoked coughing in anesthetized guinea pigs. This was mimicked by hydrochloric acid but not by sodium citrate. The coughing evoked by acid was nearly or completely abolished by TTX or by cutting the recurrent laryngeal nerves. Perfusing the trachea with a low Cl- buffer potentiated the acid-induced cough reflex. In contrast, prior capsaicin desensitization, 10 μM capsazepine, Ca2+-free perfusate, 0.1 μM iberiotoxin, 1 μM atropine, 10 μM isoproterenol, 10 μM albuterol, 3 μM indomethacin, 0.1 μM HOE-140, a combination of neurokinin1 (NK1; CP-99994), NK2 (SR-48968), and NK3 (SB-223412) receptor antagonists (0.1 μM each), a combination of histamine H1 (3 μM pyrilamine) and cysLT1 (1 μM ICI-198615) receptor antagonists, superior laryngeal nerve transection, or epithelium removal did not inhibit citric acid-evoked coughing. These and other data indicate that citric acid-evoked coughing in anesthetized guinea pigs is mediated by direct activation of capsaicin-insensitive vagal afferent nerves, perhaps through sequential activation of acid-sensing ion channels and chloride channels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R454-R463
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Capsaicin
  • Rapidly adapting receptor
  • TRPV1

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