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Respir Physiol. 2001 Mar;125(1-2):145-54.

Neurogenic inflammation in the airways.

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Department of Thoracic Medicine, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College School of Medicine, Dovehouse Street, SW3 6LY, London, UK.


Release of neuropeptides, including tachykinins and calcitonin gene-related peptide, from sensory nerves via an axon or local reflex may have inflammatory effects in the airways. This neurogenic inflammation may be initiated by activation of sensory nerves by inflammatory mediators and irritants. Neurogenic inflammation is well developed in rodents and may contribute to the inflammatory response to allergens, infections and irritants in animal models. However, the role of neurogenic inflammation in airway inflammatory diseases, such as asthma and COPD is still uncertain as there is little direct evidence for the involvement of sensory neuropeptides in human airways. Initial clinical studies using strategies to block neurogenic inflammation have not been encouraging, but it is important to study more severe forms of airway disease in more prolonged studies in the future to explore the role of neurogenic inflammation.

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