Mechanical stimulation by postnasal drip evokes cough
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Cough affects all individuals at different times, and its economic burden is substantial. Despite these widespread adverse effects, cough research relies on animal models, which hampers our understanding of the fundamental cause of cough. Postnasal drip is speculated to be one of the most frequent causes of chronic cough; however, this is a matter of debate. Here we show that mechanical stimuli by postnasal drip cause chronic cough. We distinguished human cough from sneezes and expiration reflexes by airflow patterns. Cough and sneeze exhibited one-peak and two-peak patterns, respectively, in expiratory airflow, which were also confirmed by animal models of cough and sneeze. Transgenic mice with ciliary dyskinesia coughed substantially and showed postnasal drip in the pharynx; furthermore, their cough was completely inhibited by nasal airway blockade of postnasal drip. We successfully reproduced cough observed in these mice by injecting artificial postnasal drip in wild-type mice. These results demonstrated that mechanical stimulation by postnasal drip evoked cough. The findings of our study can therefore be used to develop new antitussive drugs that prevent the root cause of cough.
- PLOS ONE
PLOS ONE 10(11), 2015-11-18
Public Library of Science