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Pharmacol Ther. 2002 Jun;94(3):185-211.

Role of cytokines and chemokines in bronchial hyperresponsiveness and airway inflammation.

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  • 1The Sacker Institute of Pulmonary Pharmacology, 5th Floor Hodgkin Building, GKT School of Biomedical Science, King's College London, London SE1 1UL, UK.


Over the last decade there has been an intense interest in the potential role of cytokines and chemokines as important mediators in various atopic diseases, including asthma and the mechanisms by which these mediators regulate airway inflammation and bronchial hyperresponsiveness. This research effort has recently culminated in the publication of clinical studies that have assessed the role of interleukin (IL)-4 [Borish et al., Am J Respir Crit Care Med 160, 1816-1823 (1999)], IL-5 [Leckie et al., Lancet 356, 2144-2148 (2000)], and IL-12 [Bryan et al., Lancet 356, 2149-2153 (2000)] in allergic asthma, and the results have been disappointing. This is not surprising given the pleiotropic role cytokines play in the allergic response confirmed by numerous animal studies providing evidence of functional redundancy. The alternative view is that our current concepts in asthma pathogenesis need significant revision. This review will summarise the evidence for the role of cytokines and chemokines in various aspects of asthma pathophysiology; namely, bronchial hyperresponsiveness, eosinophil recruitment to the airways, mucus secretion, and airway remodelling.

Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Inc.

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