Isolated tracheal segments were studied in vitro to determine how inflation affects the length and tension of the contracted and relaxed trachealis muscle. Circumferential trachealis muscle lengths were measured from cross-sectional radiographs taken during stepwise inflation of intact 20-cm-long tracheal segments to an inflation pressure of 25 cmH2O. A tracheal length spanning two cartilage rings was then cut out and mounted in a tissue bath using clips attached at the points of muscle insertion into the cartilage. The ring was stretched open along the axis of the muscle, and the resulting forces of the relaxed and contracted muscle and the cartilage were measured. Muscle lengths and tensions during inflation of the trachea were determined by comparing pressure vs. length and force vs. length measurements. During inflation from 0 to 25 cmH2O, the circumferential length of the trachealis muscle contracted with 10(-5) M acetylcholine increased from 48 to 70% of its length of maximal active tension (Lmax), while the relaxed muscle increased from 80 to 93% Lmax. The length of the contracted muscle was maintained at a nearly constant proportion of its relaxed length at each pressure.
- Copyright © 1983 the American Physiological Society