The effect of inflammation on mucociliary clearance in asthma: an overview

Chest. 2000 Oct;118(4):1142-9. doi: 10.1378/chest.118.4.1142.


Mucociliary clearance (MCC) is one of the most important nonspecific defense mechanisms of the respiratory tract, and its impairment is a well-documented feature of chronic respiratory diseases, including asthma. In vitro and in vivo data suggest that several inflammatory mediators influence the mucociliary apparatus. Epithelial damage and functional abnormalities have been described in bronchial asthma, along with changes in mucus-secreting cells and the chemical and rheological properties of airway fluid. Although the mechanisms of MCC impairment in asthma are not clearly understood, data in the recent literature suggest that airway inflammation plays a major role. In this article, we review studies on MCC alterations in light of up-to-date findings on pathogenetic mechanisms in asthma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asthma / complications
  • Asthma / metabolism*
  • Asthma / pathology
  • Biomarkers
  • Bronchitis / complications
  • Bronchitis / metabolism*
  • Bronchitis / pathology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Histamine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Leukotrienes / metabolism
  • Mucociliary Clearance / physiology*
  • Mucus / metabolism*
  • Prostaglandins / metabolism
  • Respiratory Mucosa / metabolism
  • Respiratory Mucosa / pathology


  • Biomarkers
  • Leukotrienes
  • Prostaglandins
  • Histamine