Pharmacological Differentiation of Allergic and Classically Conditioned Asthma in the Guinea Pig

Science  20 Nov 1970:
Vol. 170, Issue 3960, pp. 864-866
DOI: 10.1126/science.170.3960.864


A whole-body plethysmographic technique was developed and then used to detect experimentally induced asthma in guinea pigs and to assess pharmacological treatments of allergic and classically conditioned attacks. Inhalation of a beta adrenergic compound (isoproterenol) controlled both forms of attack. Atropine and methscopolamine, parasympathetic blocking agents, prevented conditional but not allergic attacks; diphenhydramine, an antihistamine, prevented allergic attacks; and methysergide, which blocks serotonin (which is believed to trigger human asthma), prevented neither. The guinea pig's allergic reaction is probably the result of a bronchospasm induced by histamine released in tissue of the airway by a local combination of allergen and antibody. The conditional attack is believed to be a constriction of the airway mediated by parasympathetic fibers of central origin.