Airway hyperreactivity produced by short-term exposure to hyperoxia in neonatal guinea pigs
Airway hyperreactivity is recognized as one of the long-term sequelae of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). Due to the improved care and prognosis of very low-birth weight infants, the incidence of BPD is increasing. There are data that suggest the increased survival of premature infants may be associated with the observed increased incidence of childhood asthma. The hyperoxia received as part of the treatment of respiratory distress syndrome is believed to be partly if not completely responsible for BPD. To gain insight into the potential role that hyperoxia might play in producing airway hyperreactivity, 4-day-old guinea pig pups were exposed to 70% oxygen or air for 96 h, and airway responsiveness to acetylcholine (ACh) was assessed both 2 and 9 days after the completion of the hyperoxia exposures. Unlike ozone, the mechanism for the persistently increased airway reactivity is not related either to the inhibition of neuronal acetylcholinesterase or inhibition of the neuronal M2 muscarinic receptor. A difference in antioxidant protection did not account for the increased response of the neonatal guinea pigs compared with hyperoxia-exposed rat pups. These data support the usefulness of the neonatal guinea pig as a model to study the mechanism responsible for hyperoxia-induced airway hyperreactivity.