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Rhinology. 2008 Sep;46(3):163-5.

Neurogenic inflammation of the upper airway mucosa.

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  • 1Rhinology-Olfactology Unit, Department of Otorhinolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery, University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland. Silvain.Lacroix@hcuge.ch


Chronic inflammation of the upper airway mucosa is most likely caused by multiple factors, but is frequently associated with local neurogenic inflammation. This phenomenon can be induced by the inhalation of exogenous particles and chemicals present in our environment, as well as irritants produced endogenously. These irritants, i.e. histamine, H+ or bradykinin, can stimulate the abundant afferent sensory nerves endings, epithelial and neuroendocrine cells present in the upper airways mucosa. These structures can interact with our immune and neural cells by producing pro-inflammatory neuropeptides, cytokines, chemokines and neurotrophins. This short review summarizes some of our current knowledge with regard to the role of airborne chemical stimuli and their possible implications in the development of chronic inflammation of the upper airways mucosa.

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