The original concept of asthma being primarily a disease of airways smooth muscle drove the development of bronchodilator drugs. However when it was realised that airway inflammation underpinned the disordered airway function, this gave way to the development of controller therapies such as inhaled cromones and corticosteroids. More recently the discovery of complex interconnecting cytokine and chemokine networks has stimulated the development of biologics with varying success. With the recognition that airway wall "remodelling" is present early in asthma inception and is in part driven by aberrant epithelial-mesenchymal communication both genetic and environmental factors beyond allergen exposure such as virus infection and air pollution are being seen as being increasingly important not only in asthma exacerbations but in the origins of asthma and its evolution into different sub-phenotypes. This brings us round full circle to once again considering that the origins of asthma lie in defects in the formed elements of the airway; the epithelium, smooth muscle, and vasculature. Over the last 25 years Professor You Young Kim has engaged in the exciting discovery science of allergy and asthma and has made an enormous contribution in bringing Korea to the forefront of disease management and research, a position that both he and his colleagues can justly be proud of.
Keywords: ADAM33; Asthma; airway inflammation; airway remodeling; epithelial-mesenchymal trophic unit; infection.