Theoretical effect of smoking on ciliary contribution to mucociliary clearance.

The models of cilia/mucus interaction propose that the tip of the cilia must pass through the periciliary fluid to contact the mucus in order to generate mucus movement [15], [17], [39], [40]. Using the data generated in the study of hydrated, unfixed airway epithelial cells, the graph shows the proportion of cilia that would extend through the airway surface fluid (y-axis, “effective cilia”) at a variety of hypothetical airway surface fluid depths (x-axis).The range of reported normal depths of airway surface fluid is shown in gray. Proportions of effective cilia are shown for nonsmokers (blue) and smokers (red).