Infectious and Inflammatory Pathways to Cough

Kubra F. Naqvi, Stuart B. Mazzone, Michael U. Shiloh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Coughing is a dynamic physiological process resulting from input of vagal sensory neurons innervating the airways and perceived airway irritation. Although cough serves to protect and clear the airways, it can also be exploited by respiratory pathogens to facilitate disease transmission. Microbial components or infection-induced inflammatory mediators can directly interact with sensory nerve receptors to induce a cough response. Analysis of cough-generated aerosols and transmission studies have further demonstrated how infectious disease is spread through coughing. This review summarizes the neurophysiology of cough, cough induction by respiratory pathogens and inflammation, and cough-mediated disease transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-91
Number of pages21
JournalAnnual review of physiology
StatePublished - Feb 10 2023


  • cough
  • disease transmission
  • respiratory tract infections
  • sensory neurons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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