Inhibiting effect of ammonia on citric acid-induced cough in pigs: A possible involvement of substance P

Benoit Moreaux, Abderrahim Nemmar, Dominique Beerens, Pascal Gustin

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11 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of ammonia on the cough response to citric acid and on substance P release from C-fibers involved in this reflex was assessed. For a period from one to four days, piglets were exposed, in an inhalation chamber, to ammonia at a concentration of 15 or 30 ppm. During exposure, cough induction tests were done every two days. Recovery of the cough reflex after ammonia exposure was also determined. In a separate group of piglets exposed for 2 days to 30 ppm ammonia, substance P content was determined in bronchial and tracheal lavage fluids and in the tracheal and bronchial mucosa. Ammonia (30 ppm) was found to inhibit coughing significantly (the cough frequency was reduced by 64%) after a two-day exposure. In animals exposed for 4 days to this ammonia concentration, the recovery ranged from 3 to 7 days (mean: 5 days). The same ammonia concentration also caused the substance P content to increase significantly in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (to 432% of its initial value) and tracheal lavage fluid (to 149%) and to decrease significantly in the tracheal mucosa (-58%), however the content in bronchial mucosa was not significantly affected (-43%). Exposure to 15 ppm ammonia had no effect on the frequency of citric acid-induced coughing. In conclusion, ammonia inhibits citric acid-induced coughing in pigs at concentrations that can be detected in piggeries. This inhibitory effect may be related to substance-P depletion in C-fiber endings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-285
Number of pages7
JournalPharmacology and Toxicology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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