Epithelial dysfunction and airway hyperreactivity in asthma

Prog Clin Biol Res. 1988;263:317-29.


It is clear that the central airway epithelium plays an important role in restricting access of inhaled solutes to sub-epithelial airway wall structures. Non-specific airway hyperreactivity to spasmogens in asthma may result partly as a consequence of the compromise of the epithelium as a barrier to solute diffusion. However, impaired epithelial production and release of smooth muscle relaxant factor(s) may also contribute to airway hyperresponsiveness. Virally precipitated asthma also involves inflammation-induced epithelial damage. Beta-adrenoceptor hypofunction induced by respiratory viruses may also contribute to bronchial obstruction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Biological Factors*
  • Bronchi / physiopathology*
  • Bronchial Spasm / etiology
  • Bronchial Spasm / physiopathology*
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Muscle Proteins / physiology
  • Muscle, Smooth / physiopathology*
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Prostaglandins / physiology*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / physiopathology
  • Virus Diseases / physiopathology


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Biological Factors
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Prostaglandins
  • epithelium-derived relaxant factor
  • Nitric Oxide