This thesis is part of a proposed research program for the investigation of sputum induction (SI) as a medium for evaluating potential anti-inflammatory and mucolytic therapies in cystic fibrosis (CF).
The first part of this thesis provides some basic information on the physical and chemical factors that affects the clearance of mucus from the respiratory tract. These data suggest that viscoelastic properties of mucus play an important role in the clearance of mucus from the respiratory tract.
The second part of the thesis provides some information on CF. Sputum induction may enable a direct comparison of the rheological characteristics of respiratory secretions from disease states with that from normal subjects. This is because sputum induction is a relatively simple, inexpensive and widely available method that has been shown to be useful for assessing pulmonary inflammation in asthmatic subjects. This makes sputum induction a potentially useful diagnostic tool for assessing sputum rheology. However, demonstration of the reliability of this method for sputum rheology is needed prior considering its use in future clinical studies.
The rest of the thesis describes the preliminary investigation of rheological testing done using the ARES rheometer. Preliminary results using practice samples suggest that sputum induction may offer reproducible rheological results, even though the planned experimental rheological testing was not completed due to the breakdown of the rheometer. Furthermore, it was found that silicone oil added moisture to the mucus, suggesting that silicone oil should not be used as a substitute for the solvent trap to maintain sample hydration during the testing procedure.