Nasal contribution to breathing with exercise: The effect of race and gender

(Bethesda, MD) The mode of breathing -- via the mouth (oral) or the nose (nasal) -- is an important determinant of a deposited dose of inhaled particles and gases to the lungs. The nose can act as an effective filter to prevent penetration of particles and gases to the lower respiratory tract. Gases that are very water soluble or reactive (such as ozone) can be extracted in the nose by as much as 95% during breathing. Very large and very small particles are deposited efficiently in the nose by inertial impaction and diffusion during nasal breathing.

The nose also effectively conditions inspired air to near body temperature and between 98-100% relative humidity before it enters the lungs. The ability of the nose to condition ambient air in these ways serves as a protective mechanism against toxicity to the lower respiratory tract.

A New Study

The results of a new study entitled "Nasal Contribution to Breathing With Exercise: Effect of Race and Gender" have been published. The authors are William D. Bennett and Kirby L. Zeman from the Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Lung Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC; and Annie M. Jarabek of the National Center for Environmental Assessment, US Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC. Their findings appear in the August 2003 edition of the Journal of Applied Physiology, one of 14 scientific journals published monthly by the American Physiological Society (APS) (http://www.the-aps.org).


A group of healthy, nonsmoking adults, age 1831 yr, were studied, of which 11 were Caucasian (6 men/5 women) and 11 were African-American (5 men/6 women). The subjects had no history of lung disease and no recent history of acute respiratory infection or viral illness within the previous 4 weeks. A few subjects reported seasonal nasal allergies and associated rhinitis but were asy

Contact: Donna Krupa
American Physiological Society

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