The role of nerves in asthma

Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2002 Mar;2(2):159-65. doi: 10.1007/s11882-002-0011-4.


Asthma is a syndrome characterized by reversible episodes of wheezing, cough, and sensations of chest tightness and breathlessness. These symptoms are secondary to changes in the activity of the nervous system. The mechanisms by which the nervous system is altered such that the symptoms of asthma occur have not yet been elucidated. Airway inflammation associated with asthma may affect neuronal activity at several points along the neural reflex pathway, including the function of the primary afferent (sensory) nerves, integration within the central nervous system, synaptic transmission within autonomic ganglia, and transmission at the level of the postganglionic neuroeffector junction. We provide a brief overview of these interactions and the relevance they may have to asthma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Nervous System / physiopathology*
  • Neuropeptides / physiology
  • Syndrome


  • Neuropeptides