Respiratory Pharmacology

an interactive computer simulation of experiments on guinea pig airways designed to teach the fundamental pharmacology of the airways

David Dewhurst, Helen Jones, Clive Page & Stewart Cromar


This highly interactive program uses pulmonary function data obtained from guinea pig to teach the fundamental pharmacology of the airways.

1. AIMS, INTRODUCTION and METHODS sections of the program use a combination of text and high-resolution colour graphics to describe:

  • The aims and objectives of the program
  • the structure of the airways, the physiological control of bronchial smooth muscle tone pharmacology, airway smooth muscle receptor pharmacology, pathophysiology (asthma and COPD) and it’s treatment.
  • the guinea pig preparation and the apparatus used to monitor airway function.

2. EXPERIMENTS is the main section and allows the student to select, from a menu, to study the effects of various mediators and inhibitory agents in the normal and allergen-sensitized animals.

Normal Guinea Pig:

  • Vehicle (0.9ml saline);
  • Bronchoconstrictors (Histamine: 3 single doses and + mepyramine, + indomethacin, + propranolol;
  • Acetylcholine (3 single doses and + atropine, + indomethacin, + propranolol;
  • Bradykinin (3 single doses and + indomethacin;)
  • Vagal Stimulation: (low frequency stimulation, LF + atropine, high frequency stimulation, HF + atropine);
  • Bronchodilators (bombesin treated: single dose, + epinephrine, + mepyramine)

Allergen-sensitized Guinea Pig:

  • Histamine, + mepyramine;
  • LTC4 + mepyramine, + montelucast;
  • Antigen (i.v.) + mepyramine; + mepyramine and montelucast.

For each experiment the display shows simultaneous traces of resistance, dynamic compliance and blood pressure which are presented in a form similar to that in the Mumed recording system. Each set of data is accompanied by self-assessment questions which demand interpretation of experimental data presented to them, and an understanding of the underlying control mechanisms. These student-centred activities make the program useful for self-directed learning or, in the ideal situation, it would be incorporated into a structured teaching programme and used with a teacher-designed workbook. It is envisaged that the program could be used in a number of ways: to better prepare students who will perform the practical at a later date; to debrief students after they have performed the practical; as a ‘fallback’ to provide data for students whose experiments were unsuccessful; as an alternative to the practical, though it should be remembered that different learning objectives may be achieved.

Language Versions: English

Recommended System Requirements:

  • Windows:
    • Microsoft Windows XP (32 bit), Windows Server 2003 (32-bit), Windows Server 2008 (32 bit), Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows 7 (32 bit and 64 bit), Windows 8
    • 2.33GHz or faster x86-compatible processor, or Intel Atom 1.6GHz or faster processor for netbooks
    • 128MB of RAM (1GB of RAM recommended for netbooks); 128MB of graphics memory
    • Internet Explorer 7.0 or later, Mozilla Firefox 4.0 or later, Google Chrome, Safari 5.0 or later, or Opera 11
  • Mac OS:
    • Mac OS X v10.6, v10.7, or v10.8
    • Intel Core Duo 1.83GHz or faster processor
    • 256MB of RAM; 128MB of graphics memory
    • Safari 5.0 or later, Mozilla Firefox 4.0 or later, Google Chrome, or Opera 11

Target Audience: Undergraduate students of pharmacology, pharmacy, medicine and dentistry.

Price: £250 (multiuser, educational license)

ISBN 1-874758-15-8
©2008 Sheffield Bioscience Programs

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