Role of nitrogen in transmucosal gas exchange rate in the rat middle ear

Romain E. Kania, Philippe Herman, Patrice Tran Ba Huy, Amos Ar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigates the role of nitrogen (N2) in transmucosal gas exchange of the middle ear (ME). We used an experimental rat model to measure gas volume variations in the ME cavity at constant pressure. We disturbed the steady-state gas composition with either air or N2 to measure resulting changes in volume at ambient pressure. Changes in gas volume over time could be characterized by three phases: a primary transient increase with time (phase I), followed by a linear decrease (phase II), and then a gradual decrease (phase III). The mean slope of phase II was -0.128 μl/min (SD 0.023) in the air group (n = 10) and -0.105 μl/min (SD 0.032) in the N2 group (n = 10), but the difference was not significant (P = 0.13), which suggests that the rate of gas loss can be attributed mainly to the same steady-state partial pressure gradient of N2 reached in this phase. Furthermore, a mathematical model was developed analyzing the transmucosal N2 exchange in phase II. The model takes gas diffusion into account, predicting that, in the absence of change in mucosal blood flow rate, gas volume in the ME should show a linear decrease with time after steady-state conditions and gas composition are established. In accordance with the experimental results, the mathematical model also suggested that transmucosal gas absorption of the rat ME during steady-state conditions is governed mainly by diffusive N2 exchange between the ME gas and its mucosal blood circulation. rat model

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1281-1287
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2006


Dive into the research topics of 'Role of nitrogen in transmucosal gas exchange rate in the rat middle ear'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this