Tracheal compliance and limit flow rate changes in a murine model of asthma.
Trachea is the unique passage for air to flow in and out. Its tone is of importance for the respiration system. However, investigation on how tracheal tone changes due to asthma is limited. Aiming at studying how the mechanical property changes due to asthma as well as the compliance and flow limitation, the following methods are adopted. Static and passive pressure-volume tests of rats' trachea of the asthmatic and control groups are carried out and a new type of tube law is formulated to fit the experimental data, based on which changes of compliance and limit flow rate are investigated. In order to give explanation to such changes, histological examinations with tracheal soft tissues are made. The results show that compliance, limit flow rate and material constants included in the tube law largely depend on the longitudinal stretching ratio. Compared with the control group, the tracheal compliance of asthmatic animals decreases significantly, which results in an increased limit flow rate. Histological studies indicate that asthma can lead to hyperplasia/hypertrophy of smooth muscle cells, and increase elastin and collagen fibres in the muscular membrane. Though decreasing compliance increases stability, during the onset of asthma, limit flow rate is much smaller due to the lower transmural pressure. Asthma leads to a stiffer trachea and the obtained results reveal some aspects relevant to asthma-induced tracheal remodelling.