Investigative use of bronchoscopy in asthma

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1998 Mar;157(3 Pt 1):692-7. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.157.3.9705020.


The incorporation of bronchoscopy and bronchoscopic procedures into the investigation of asthma mechanisms, treatment, and in particular, the role of airway inflammation has contributed significantly to the enhanced understanding of this disease. Carefully drafted guidelines have allowed the gradual inclusion of subjects with more severe disease in studies utilizing bronchoscopic investigative tools. Many more questions remained unanswered, including the importance of persistence of airway inflammation in asymptomatic asthma, the specific antiinflammatory effects of new (and old) asthma therapies, the contribution of airway structural changes (subepithelial fibrosis) to nonreversible obstruction, the role of antiinflammatory versus proinflammatory cytokines in the pathogenesis of airway inflammation and the heterogeneity of disease expression in various groups of subjects. We are confident that current and future meticulously designed and executed research studies utilizing bronchoscopic techniques will significantly add to our knowledge of disease mechanisms and lead us to new and improved treatments for asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Airway Obstruction / pathology
  • Allergens
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antigens
  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / pathology
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Biopsy
  • Bronchi / pathology
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests / methods
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage / methods
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / cytology
  • Bronchoscopy* / methods
  • Cytodiagnosis
  • Cytokines / physiology
  • Humans
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology
  • Safety


  • Allergens
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antigens
  • Cytokines