Noncontractile functions of airway smooth muscle cells in asthma

Annu Rev Physiol. 2009;71:509-35. doi: 10.1146/annurev.physiol.010908.163227.


Although pivotal in regulating bronchomotor tone in asthma, airway smooth muscle (ASM) also modulates airway inflammation and undergoes hypertrophy and hyperplasia, contributing to airway remodeling in asthma. ASM myocytes secrete or express a wide array of immunomodulatory mediators in response to extracellular stimuli, and in chronic severe asthma, increases in ASM mass may render the airway irreversibly obstructed. Although the mechanisms by which ASM secretes cytokines and chemokines are the same as those regulating immune cells, there exist unique ASM signaling pathways that may provide novel therapeutic targets. This review provides an overview of our current understanding of the proliferative as well as the synthetic properties of ASM.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Chemokines / physiology
  • Cytokines / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines