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Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2002 Jul;23(7):311-5.

Asthma -- a need for a rethink?

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Sackler Institute of Pulmonary Pharmacology, GKT, School of Biomedical Sciences, 5th Floor Hodgkin Building, Guy's Campus, London SE1 1UL, UK.


Asthma is a major medical problem but, despite decades of research, the mechanisms that underlie this condition remain elusive. Although the eosinophil has been regarded as a cell that is central to the pathogenesis of asthma, the failure to abrogate asthma symptoms by novel treatments that are designed to suppress the recruitment of eosinophils to the airways challenges this dogma. Our approach to understanding bronchial asthma needs to be broadened to include alterations in the function of afferent nerves that supply airways. Changes in the activity of these nerves offer a possible mechanism by which asthmatic subjects are uniquely responsive to a wide range of physiological and chemical stimuli. Here, we review the current status of asthma research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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