The role of the extracellular matrix and specific growth factors in the regulation of inflammation and remodelling in asthma

Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Apr;122(1):19-29. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2008.12.002. Epub 2009 Jan 7.


Asthma is a disease characterised by persistent inflammation and structural changes in the airways, referred to as airway remodelling. The mechanisms underlying these processes may be interdependent or they may be separate processes that are driven by common factors. The levels of a variety of growth factors (including transforming growth factor beta, granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor, and vascular endothelial growth factor) are known to be changed in the asthmatic airway. These and other growth factors can contribute to the development and persistence of inflammation and remodelling. One of the prominent features of the structural changes of the airways is the increased deposition and alterations in the composition of the extracellular matrix proteins. These proteins include fibronectin, many different collagen types and hyaluronan. There is a dynamic relationship between the extracellular matrix proteins and the airway mesenchymal cells such that the changes in the extracellular matrix proteins can also contribute to the persistence of inflammation and the airway remodelling. This review aims to summarise the role growth factors and extracellular matrix proteins play in the regulation of inflammation and airway remodelling in the asthmatic airway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism*
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factors


  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Transforming Growth Factors