University of Leicester
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Human respiratory cilia

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posted on 2014-12-15, 10:40 authored by Mark Alexander Chilvers
Human respiratory cilia densely line the airways and beat continually removing mucus and debris from the respiratory tract. Ciliary damage may be primary, from genetic causes, or secondary due to a variety of toxins, bacteria, or viruses. This may result in a reduction in ciliary beat frequency and abnormalities of ciliary beat pattern. Digital high-speed imaging has been presented as a technique to measure both ciliary beat frequency and beat pattern. This has been evaluated against existing methods and found to be a gold standard. Using this method the ciliary beat pattern has been evaluated in detail for the first time. Cilia were found to beat with a forward power stroke and a recovery stroke within the same plane. Using digital high speed imaging normal reference ranges have been evaluated for both a paediatric and young adult population. Data has been collected for ciliary beat frequency, beat pattern and ultrastructural parameters. Having established normal reference ranges it has been possible to evaluate ciliary beat frequency, beat pattern and ultrastructure inpatients with primary ciliary dyskinesia. Different beat patterns were found to be associated with different ultrastructural defects. Digital high-speed imaging is a gold standard for evaluation of ciliary beat frequency and beat pattern. With the availability of normal reference ranges it can be used confidently as a diagnostic and research method..


Date of award


Author affiliation

Infection immunity and inflammation

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • MD



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