Airway smooth muscle growth in asthma: proliferation, hypertrophy, and migration

Proc Am Thorac Soc. 2008 Jan 1;5(1):89-96. doi: 10.1513/pats.200705-063VS.


Increased airway smooth muscle mass is present in fatal and non-fatal asthma. However, little information is available regarding the cellular mechanism (i.e., hyperplasia vs. hypertrophy). Even less information exists regarding the functional consequences of airway smooth muscle remodeling. It would appear that increased airway smooth muscle mass would tend to increase airway narrowing and airflow obstruction. However, the precise effects of increased airway smooth muscle mass on airway narrowing are not known. This review will consider the evidence for airway smooth muscle cell proliferation and hypertrophy in asthma, potential functional effects, and biochemical mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Airway Obstruction / pathology*
  • Airway Obstruction / physiopathology
  • Airway Resistance
  • Animals
  • Asthma / pathology*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Bronchial Spasm / pathology
  • Bronchial Spasm / physiopathology
  • Cell Movement
  • Contractile Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia / pathology
  • Hyperplasia / physiopathology
  • Hypertrophy / pathology
  • Hypertrophy / physiopathology
  • Muscle, Smooth / pathology*
  • Muscle, Smooth / physiopathology


  • Actins
  • Contractile Proteins