Clearance of particles from small ciliated airways

Rolf Falk, Klas Philipson, Magnus Svartengren, Naomi Jarvis, Michael Bailey, Per Camner*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    33 Citations (Scopus)


    In recent years, there has been a debate on whether a considerable fraction of particles is retained after 24 h in the tracheobronchial region. In the present study, 8 healthy subjects inhaled 6.2-μm monodisperse Teflon particles labeled with 111In twice, at flow rates of 0.45 and 0.045 L/s. According to theoretical calculations, the particles inhaled at 0.45 L/s should deposit mainly in large bronchi and in the alveolar region, whereas the particles inhaled at 0.045 L/s should be deposited mainly in small ciliated airways. Twenty-four hours after inhalation, about half of the particles inhaled with both modes of inhalation had cleared. Clearance during the period from I to about 30 days after inhalation, could, for both modes of inhalation, be described by the sum of two exponential functions. For the inhalation rate of 0.45 L/s, 15% cleared with a half-time of 3.4 days and 85% with a half time of 190 days. For the inhalation at 0.045 L/s, 20% cleared with a half-time of 2.0 days and 80% with a half-time of 50 days. The results strongly indicate (1) that a considerable fraction of particles deposited in small ciliated airways had not cleared within 24 h, and (2) that these particles cleared differently from particles deposited in the alveolar region. The experimental data agree quite well with the IRTM predictions made using its default slow clearance fractions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)495-515
    Number of pages21
    JournalExperimental Lung Research
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 1997

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    Received 3 December 1996; accepted 30 April 1997. We are grateful for skillful technical assistance from Ulla Bergsten, Lars Persson, and Inger 6ster-gren. This study was supported by grants from the Swedish Radiation Protection Institute (SSI) and the European Commission (contract F14PCT 950026) and the Research Funds of Karolinska Institute. Address correspondence to Dr. Per. Camner, Division of Inhalation Toxicology, Institute of Env-ronmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Box 210, S171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.


    • Bronchioles
    • Lung retention
    • Mucociliary clearance
    • Particle deposition


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