Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of envhperEnvironmental Health PerspectivesBrowse ArticlesAbout EHPGeneral InformationAuthorsMediaProgramsPartnerships
Environ Health Perspect. 1976 June; 15: 147–156.
PMCID: PMC1475169
Research Article

Factors influencing the deposition of inhaled particles.


Because the initial deposition pattern of inhaled particles of various toxic agents determines their future clearance and insult to tissue, respiratory tract deposition is important in assessing the potential toxicity of inhaled aerosols. Factors influencing the deposition of inhaled particles can be classified into three main areas: (1) the physics of aerosols, (2) the anatomy of the respiratory tract and (3) the airflow patterns in the lung airways. In the physics of aerosols, the forces acting on a particle and its physical and chemical properties, such as particle size or size distribution, density, shape, hygroscopic or hydrophobic character, and chemical reactions of the particle will affect the deposition. With respect to the anatomy of the respiratory tract, important parameters are the diameters, the lengths, and the branching angles of airway segments, which determine the deposition. Physiological factors include airflow and breathing patterns, which influence particle deposition. Various lung models used in predicting particle deposition are reviewed and discussed. The air-way structures of various animal species are compared, showing the unique structure of the human lung compared to the animal species under study. Regional deposition data in man and dog are reviewed. Recent deposition data for small rodents are presented, showing regional difference in deposition with the right apical lobe having the highest relative deposition.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1.3M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Images in this article

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Horsfield K, Dart G, Olson DE, Filley GF, Cumming G. Models of the human bronchial tree. J Appl Physiol. 1971 Aug;31(2):207–217. [PubMed]
  • Kliment V, Libich J, Kaudersová V. Geometry of guinea pig respiratory tract and application of Landahl's model of deposition of aerosol particles. J Hyg Epidemiol Microbiol Immunol. 1972;16(1):107–114. [PubMed]
  • Kliment V. Similarity and dimensional analysis, evaluation of aerosol deposition in the lungs of laboratory animals and man. Folia Morphol (Praha) 1973;21(1):59–64. [PubMed]
  • Phalen RF, Yeh HC, Raabe OG, Velasquez DJ. Casting the lungs In-situ. Anat Rec. 1973 Oct;177(2):255–263. [PubMed]
  • Davies CN. Breathing of half-micron aerosols. II. Interpretation of experimental results. J Appl Physiol. 1972 May;32(5):601–611. [PubMed]
  • Schroter RC, Sudlow MF. Flow patterns in models of the human bronchial airways. Respir Physiol. 1969 Oct;7(3):341–355. [PubMed]
  • LANDAHL HD, TRACEWELL TN, LASSEN WH. On the retention of airborne particulates in the human lung: II. AMA Arch Ind Hyg Occup Med. 1951 Apr;3(4):359–366. [PubMed]
  • ALTSHULER B, YARMUS L, PALMES ED, NELSON N. Aerosol deposition in the human respiratory tract. I. Experimental procedures and total deposition. AMA Arch Ind Health. 1957 Apr;15(4):293–303. [PubMed]
  • Muir DC, Davies CN. The deposition of 0.5 microns diameter aerosols in the lungs of man. Ann Occup Hyg. 1967 Jul;10(3):161–174. [PubMed]
  • Giacomelli-Maltoni G, Melandri C, Prodi V, Tarroni G. Deposition efficiency of monodisperse particles in human respiratory tract. Am Ind Hyg Assoc J. 1972 Sep;33(9):603–610. [PubMed]
  • Davies CN, Heyder J, Subba Ramu MC. Breathing of half-micron aerosols. I. Experimental. J Appl Physiol. 1972 May;32(5):591–600. [PubMed]
  • Lippmann M, Albert RE, Peterson HT., Jr The regional deposition of inhaled aerosols in man. Inhaled Part. 1970;1:105–122. [PubMed]

Articles from Environmental Health Perspectives are provided here courtesy of National Institute of Environmental Health Science