ABSTRACT: To investigate whether there is a change in airway rapidly adapting receptor (RAR) activity during high altitude exposure, rabbits were placed in a high altitude simulation chamber (barometric pressure, 429 mm Hg). With 12 h exposure, when there was pulmonary congestion, an increase in basal RAR activity was observed. With 36 h exposure, when there was alveolar edema, there was a further increase in basal RAR activity. In these backgrounds, there was an increase in the sensitivity of the RARs to substance P (SP). To assess whether there was an increase in lung SP level, neutral endopeptidase activity was determined which showed a decrease in low barometric pressure exposed groups. It is concluded that along with the SP released, pulmonary congestion and edema produced, respectively by different durations of low barometric pressure exposure cause a progressive increase in RAR activity which may account for the respiratory symptoms reported in climbers who are unacclimatized.
Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology 07/2011; 178(2):329-36. · 2.24 Impact Factor