1. Although ventilation in normal human lungs has been shown to decrease from apex to base, comparable observations are lacking in regard to particle deposition.
2. We compared regional ventilation and particle deposition in normal subjects by using radioactive xenon and a radioactive aerosol while sitting, lying, and while breathing at an increased rate. Both smokers and non-smokers were studied.
3. Particle deposition and ventilation were closely related, and the greater the ventilation the greater the deposition of particles, a situation which prevailed irrespective of position and breathing rate. While supine, the apex to base gradient for both ventilation and particle deposition decreased but did not entirely disappear. At higher respiratory rates, central deposition of particles, especially in smokers, increased.
4. We concluded that there are regional differences in the deposition of particles and that such differences are closely related to regional ventilation.