It is increasingly clear that asthma is a complex disease made up of number of disease variants with different underlying pathophysiologies. Limited knowledge of the mechanisms of these disease subgroups is possibly the greatest obstacle in understanding the causes of asthma and improving treatment and can explain the failure to identify consistent genetic and environmental correlations to asthma. Here we describe a hypothesis whereby the asthma syndrome is divided into distinct disease entities with specific mechanisms, which we have called "asthma endotypes." An "endotype" is proposed to be a subtype of a condition defined by a distinct pathophysiological mechanism. Criteria for defining asthma endotypes on the basis of their phenotypes and putative pathophysiology are suggested. Using these criteria, we identify several proposed asthma endotypes and propose how these new definitions can be used in clinical study design and drug development to target existing and novel therapies to patients most likely to benefit. This PRACTALL (PRACtical ALLergy) consensus report was produced by experts from the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
Copyright © 2011 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.