Airway smooth muscle in asthma: just a target for bronchodilation?

Clin Chest Med. 2012 Sep;33(3):543-58. doi: 10.1016/j.ccm.2012.05.002. Epub 2012 Jul 11.


Airway smooth muscle (ASM) has long been recognized as the main cell type responsible for bronchial hyperresponsiveness. It has, thus, been considered as a target for bronchodilation. In asthma, however, there is a complex relationship between ASM and inflammatory cells, such as mast cells and T lymphocytes. Moreover, the increased ASM mass in asthmatic airways is one of the key features of airway remodeling. This article aims to review the main concepts about the 3 possible roles of ASM in asthma: (1) contractile tone, (2) inflammatory response, and (3) remodeling.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Airway Remodeling
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle, Smooth / physiology*
  • Respiratory Physiological Phenomena*