Plasma exudation and asthma

Lung. 1988;166(1):1-23. doi: 10.1007/BF02714025.


Several pieces of evidence support the view that exudation of plasma into the airway wall and into the airway lumen occurs in asthma. Vascular leakage of plasma results from inflammatory mediator-induced separation of endothelial cells in postcapillary venules belonging to the tracheobronchial circulation. Whereas proposed mediators of asthma induce reversible leakage, several antiasthma drugs exhibit antileakage effects in animals and humans. Potential consequences of plasma exudation are many. Mucosal/submucosal edema might contribute to airway hyperresponsiveness. Plasma exudate in the airway lumen in asthma may contribute to sloughing of epithelium, impairment of mucociliary transport, narrowing of small airways, and mucus plug formation. Exuded plasma may cause airway inflammation and constriction because of its content of powerful mediators, and chemoattractant factors and plasma proteins may condition the inflammatory cells abundant in asthmatic airways to release mediators in response to stimuli that otherwise would be innocuous to the cells. It is concluded that inflammatory stimulus-induced increase in macromolecular permeability of the tracheobronchial microvasculature and mucosa may be a significant pathogenetic mechanism in asthma and that the postcapillary venular endothelium and airway epithelium that regulate leakage of plasma are important effector cells in this disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / pathology*
  • Exudates and Transudates*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Plasma*
  • Pulmonary Circulation
  • Vascular Patency