Phenotypic changes in airway smooth muscle are integral to the pathophysiological changes that constitute asthma - namely inflammation, airway wall remodelling and bronchial hyperresponsiveness. In vitro and in vivo studies have shown that the proliferative, secretory and contractile functions of airway smooth muscle are dysfunctional in asthma. These functions can be modulated by various mediators whose levels are altered in asthma, derived from inflammatory cells or produced by airway smooth muscle itself. In this review, we describe the emerging roles of the CXC chemokines (GROs, IP-10), Th17-derived cytokines (IL-17, IL-22) and semaphorins, as well as the influence of viral infection on airway smooth muscle function, with a view to identifying new opportunities for therapeutic intervention in asthma.
- Airway smooth muscle