We have previously shown that, after induced constriction, there is substantial distortion of the parenchymal tissues. In this study we investigated whether differences in parenchymal morphology occurred when the lung was constricted at different lung volumes. We measured tracheal pressure and calculated lung resistance in mechanically ventilated rats under control conditions and after aerosol administration of methacholine (256 mg/ml) at different positive end-expiratory pressures (PEEP = 7, 5, and 3 cmH2O). The lungs were frozen with liquid nitrogen at different PEEP levels and processed via freeze substitution. We measured airway constriction as the ratio of the airway lumen to the ideally relaxed area, alveolar size by measuring the mean linear intercept between alveolar walls, and tissue distortion as the standard deviation of the number of intercepts in the 40 fields sampled per lung. The increase in lung resistance was largest at PEEP = 3 cmH2O. Whereas airway constriction decreased and alveolar size increased at higher lung volume (PEEP = 7 cmH2O), tissue distortion did not change. These data suggest that parenchymal distortion after induced constriction was not attributable to airway narrowing and/or closure.
- Copyright © 1995 the American Physiological Society