Modulation of the contractile responses of guinea pig isolated tracheal rings after chronic intermittent hypobaric hypoxia with and without cold exposure.
Previous studies have documented that repetitive exposure to intermittent hypoxia, such as that encountered in preparation to high-altitude ascent, influences breathing. However, the impact of intermittent hypoxia on airway smooth muscle has not been explored. Ascents to high altitude, in addition to hypoxia, expose individuals to cold air. The objective of the present study is to examine the effect of chronic intermittent hypobaric hypoxia (CIH) and CIH combined with cold exposure (CIHC) on tracheal smooth muscle responses to various contractile and relaxant agonists. Experiments were performed on tracheal rings harvested from adult guinea pigs exposed either to CIH or CIHC [14 days (6 h/day) at barometric pressure of 350 mmHg with and without cold exposure of 5 degrees C] or to room air (normoxia). CIH and CIHC attenuated maximum contractile responses to ACh compared with normoxia. The maximum contractile response to histamine decreased with CIH, whereas CIHC restored the response back to normoxia. Both CIH and CIHC attenuated maximum contractile responses to 5-HT. Altered contractile responses after CIH and CIHC were independent of epithelium. Isoproterenol-induced relaxation was not altered by CIH, whereas it was enhanced after CIHC, and these responses were independent of the epithelium. The data demonstrate that intermittent exposure to hypoxia profoundly influences contractile response of tracheal smooth muscle, and cold exposure can further modulate the response, implying the importance of cold at high altitude.
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