Airways represent a serial and parallel branched system, through which the alveoli are connected with the external air. They participate in the mechanical and immune defense against noxious agents, regional flow regulation to optimize the perfusion/ventilation ratio and provide lung mechanical support. Functional exploration of central airways is based on resistance measurement, flow-volume curve or spirometry, while peripheral airways influence parameters as the upstream resistance, the slope of phase III nitrogen washout and the residual volume. Bronchodynamic tests supply important information on airway reversibility and nonspecific reactivity. Anatomopathologic alterations of obstructive chronic bronchitis, pulmonary emphysema and bronchial asthma account for their specific functional and bronchodynamic alterations. There is a growing interest for bronchiolitis in the clinical, radiologic and functional field. This type of lesion, always present in COPD, asthma and interstitial disease, becomes relevant when isolated or predominant. The most useful anatomofunctional classification separates the "constrictive" forms, the cause of obstruction and hyperinflation, from "proliferative" forms where an intraluminal proliferation more or less extended to alveolar air spaces as in BOOP (bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia) results in restrictive dysfunction. Constrictive bronchiolitis obliterans represents a severe and frequent complication of lung and bone marrow transplantation. Idiopathic BOOP may occur with cough or flue-like symptoms. In other cases, constrictive and proliferative forms may have a toxic (gases or drugs), postinfective or immune etiology (rheumatoid arthritis, LES, etc). Respiratory bronchiolitis or smokers' bronchiolitis, an often asymptomatic lesion, rarely associated to an interstitial lung disease, should be considered separately. The relationships between respiratory bronchiolitis, COPD and initial centriacinar emphysema is still to be elucidated. The diagnostic combination of the more sensitive functional tests with HRCT will allow a better understanding of the natural history of the various forms of bronchiolitis.