The i.v. infusion of mannitol decreases airway responsiveness to methacholine in asthma

Giuseppe Valerio, Francesco G. Salerno, Pierluigi Bracciale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bronchial asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are characterized by airway inflammation and oedema. The oedema of the airway wall may contribute to airway narrowing and hyperresponsiveness by increasing airway wall thickness, by altering airway compliance, or by impairing the transmission of the lung elastic recoil to the airway smooth muscle (ASM). We hypothesized that the i.v. infusion of mannitol, an osmotic diuretic, would reduce the water content of the airway wall in asthma and COPD, thus decreasing airway responsiveness to methacholine (MCh). In eight asthmatic and in six COPD patients, airway responsiveness to MCh, lung volumes and lung mechanics were measured before and after infusion of mannitol. In the asthmatics, mannitol decreased airway responsiveness to MCh and lung elastic recoil. In the COPD patients, no differences were recorded after mannitol infusion. These data suggest that the airway wall oedema, in asthma, has an impact on airway responsiveness to MCh. The differential effect of mannitol in asthma versus COPD, may relate to the specific pathologic features of the diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-377
Number of pages4
JournalRespiratory Physiology and Neurobiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 15 2007


  • Airway parenchyma interdependence
  • Airway responsiveness
  • Airway smooth muscle
  • Mannitol infusion
  • Methacholine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)


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