Cardiovascular effects of methacholine-induced airway obstruction in man
Sharman, JE and Johns, DP and Marrone, J and Walls, J and Wood-Baker, R and Walters, EH, Cardiovascular effects of methacholine-induced airway obstruction in man, Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, 65, (3) pp. 401-407. ISSN 0867-5910 (2014) [Refereed Article]
Copyright 2014 Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology
Cardiovascular disease is the most frequent cause of death in people with chronic respiratory disease. The cause of this association has been attributed to airway obstruction leading to cardiovascular dysfunction (increased central blood pressure (BP) and aortic stiffness). However, this has never been experimentally tested. Methacholine is routinely used to stimulate airway function changes that mimic airway pathology. This study aimed to determine the cardiovascular effects of methacholine-induced airway obstruction. Fifteen healthy young adults (aged 22.9±2.5 years; 4 male; mean±S.D.) underwent a bronchial challenge test (randomized, blinded, cross-over design) in which they received nebulized methacholine inhalation in serially increasing concentrations (from 0.39 to 25 mg/ml) or saline (0.9%; control) on two separate days. Bronchoconstriction was assessed by forced expiratory volume at one second (FEV1) and cardiovascular effects by augmentation index, brachial BP, central BP, heart rate and aortic stiffness. Methacholine significantly decreased FEV1 from baseline to peak inhaled concentration compared with saline (-0.48±0.34 vs. -0.07±0.16 L; p<0.001), but there was no between-group change in augmentation index (1.6±7.0 vs. 3.7±10.2% p=0.49), brachial systolic BP (-3.3±7.6 vs. -4.7±5.7 mmHg; p=0.59), central systolic BP (-1.1±5.2 vs. -0.3±5.5 mmHg; p=0.73), heart rate (0.4±7.1 vs. -0.8±6.6 bpm; p=0.45) or aortic stiffness (0.2±1.3 vs. 0.8±1.8 m/s; p=0.20; n=12). Thus, methacholine induced airway obstruction does not acutely change brachial BP or central haemodynamics. This finding refutes the notion that airway obstruction per se leads to cardiovascular dysfunction, at least in healthy individuals in the acute setting.