Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2008

Thesis Advisor(s)

John Morris

Honors Major

Pharmaceutical Science


Medicine and Health Sciences | Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


Chronic respiratory illnesses are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality, and acute changes in respiratory function often lead to hospitalization. Air pollution is known to exacerbate asthma, but the molecular mechanisms of this are poorly understood. The current studies were aimed at clarifying the roles of nerve subtypes and purinergic receptors in respiratory reflex responses following exposure to irritants. In C57Bl/6J female mice, inspired adenosine produced sensory irritation, shown to be mediated mostly by A-delta fibers. Secondly, the response to inhaled acetic acid was discovered to be dually influenced by C and A-delta fibers, as indicated by the observed effects of capsaicin pretreatment, which selectively destroys TRPV1-expressing fibers (mostly C fibers) and pretreatment with theophylline, a nonselective adenosine receptor antagonist. The responses to both adenosine and acetic acid were enhanced in the ovalbumin-allergic airway disease model, although the particular pathway altered is still unknown.