The mucociliary tracheal transport rate and clearance index were measured in 16 healthy horses and 16 horses suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A marker, Indian ink in syrup, was placed in the mucus layer of the interior wall of the trachea, just in front of the carina, and its displacement was measured after 30 and 60 minutes. The same procedure was repeated 30 minutes after the intravenous administration of 0.8 microgram clenbuterol/kg bodyweight. In the diseased horses the mucociliary transport rate was significantly lower than in the healthy horses. After clenbuterol administration there was a significant increase in the transport rate and a similar increase in the clearance index. Sixty and 90 minutes after clenbuterol there was a significant increase of mucus secretion in both the healthy and diseased horses. Measurements in five healthy horses and five diseased horses on two different days gave similar results, showing that the technique provided reproducible data.
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