R&D Systems Inc. Tocris Bioscience Boston Biochem

Respiratory System Research

The respiratory system consists of the lungs, airways, diaphragm, trachea (windpipe) and pharynx (throat) and its primary function is the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide- breathing in and out. Between 6 and 10 liters of air are brought in and out of the lungs and 0.3 liters of oxygen are transferred from the alveoli to the blood per minute.

Respiratory Disease Product Areas

Respiratory System Research Product Areas

Inhalation and exhalation is accomplished by respiratory muscles, namely the diaphragm and intercostal, neck and abdominal muscles. The diaphragm contracts and increases the volume of the chest cavity, expanding the lungs and contracting the intercostal muscles to expand the ribcage. This occurs during inhalation. Upon inhalation, oxygenated air travels down the trachea which separates into 2 bronchi, one leading to each lung. From here the air travels through smaller bronchioles to the alveoli which are the location for exchange of oxygen and CO2 to and from the bloodstream and the pulmonary circulation. Exhalation is a passive process whereby the muscles relax, the volume of the chest cavity decreases and air containing CO2 for excretion is forced out.

Classification of Respiratory Diseases

Disorders of the respiratory system can be divided into four main areas:

  • Obstructive conditions (emphysema, bronchitis, asthma attacks)
  • Restrictive conditions (fibrosis, sarcoidosis, alveolar damage, pleural effusion)
  • Vascular diseases (pulmonary edema, pulmonary embolism, pulmonary hypertension)
  • Infectious, environmental and other diseases (pneumonia, tuberculosis, asbestosis, particulate pollutants). The most common upper respiratory tract infection is the common cold. The most common lower respiratory tract infection is pneumonia

In total there are more than 40 conditions which affect the lungs and airways, ranging from mild and self-limiting, such as the common cold, to life-threatening occurrences such as bacterial pneumonia and cancer. They are a common and important cause of illness and death and the incidence of asthma and allergy has almost trebled in the last 20 years, making it an increasingly important target for medical research.

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Regulation of Vascular Reactivity by GPCRs

Written by J.J. Maguire and A.P. Davenport

Cardiovascular Poster

'Regulation of Vascular Reactivity by G-protein-coupled Receptors' summarizes the key GPCRs regulating vascular reactivity.

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New Therapies and Challenges in Asthma

Written by Peter J. Barnes

Asthma Poster

'New Therapies, Challenges, and Breakthroughs in Asthma' highlights key pathways and new therapies used to treat asthma, including those currently in clinical development.

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New Product Guide


Highlights 150 new products added in the second half of 2014. View PDF today.

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Bio-Techne Events

DPG 2015

BNA 2015: Festival of Neuroscience

April 12 - 15, 2015

Edinburgh, UK

Booth: 25A