By Stewart W. Clarke

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T h e origin and function of this constituent is not clear and further studies are needed. Mucus glycoprotein is the main macromolecular constituent and is responsible for the viscoelastic behaviour of airway secretion. , 1977). This macromolecule is m a d e up of a polypeptide core with sugar chains attached along its length through O-glycosidic linkages between threonine or serine and N-acetyl galactosamine. Serine and threonine account for more than 40 per cent of the total amino acid content, cysteine molecules are also present but in very small a m o u n t s .

1981). It is likely that the in vivo effect is mediated by extrapulmonary mechanisms. A n interesting observation is that Clara cell secretion is stimulated by increased ventilatory volume and this effect seems to be mediated by c G M P . - 1 Chemical composition/physical properties/function Study of the chemical composition and physical properties of bronchiolar secretion has been beset by technical obstacles in particular in the collection of secretion both from in vivo and in vitro preparations.

Ciliated cells are usually found in groups and the cilia within a group beat in a coordinated fashion which is probably due to viscochemical coupling. T h e direction of beat and wave propagation varies between groups of cells but the overall direction of beat—oropharyngeal—is similar between regions. H u m a n respiratory ciliary beat frequency (CBF) at different levels of the airways is controversial. , 1981). Variations in ciliary beat frequency of 6 to 16 H z , have been observed in normal h u m a n bronchial tissue (Lopez-Vidriero and Clarke, (1982).

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