Structure and function of the mucus clearance system of the lung

Brenda Button, Brian M Button

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOther

58 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract In cystic fibrosis (CF), a defect in ion transport results in thick and dehydrated airway mucus, which is difficult to clear, making such patients prone to chronic inflammation and bacterial infections. Physiotherapy using a variety of airway clearance techniques (ACTs) represents a key treatment regime by helping clear the airways of thickened, adhered, mucus and, thus, reducing the impact of lung infections and improving lung function. This article aims to bridge the gap between our understanding of the physiological effects of mechanical stresses elicited by ACTs on airway epithelia and the reported effectiveness of ACTs in CF patients. In the first part of this review, the effects of mechanical stress on airway epithelia are discussed in relation to changes in ion transport and stimulation in airway surface layer hydration. The second half is devoted to detailing the most commonly used ACTsto stimulate the removal of mucus from the airways of patients with CF. ? 2013 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; all rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbera009720
Pages (from-to)1 - 16
Number of pages16
JournalCold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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