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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2003 Dec 15;168(12):1495-9. Epub 2003 Sep 25.

Increased airway vascularity in newly diagnosed asthma using a high-magnification bronchovideoscope.

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Third Department of Internal Medicine, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, Sapporo 060-8543, Japan.


Hypervascularity in the bronchial wall is part of airway remodeling, but has remained an ill-defined process in asthma pathogenesis. Previous morphologic assessment has been limited to biopsy specimens, and therefore a high-magnification bronchovideoscope (side-viewing type) was developed for less invasive examination of subepithelial vessels. We evaluated vascularity in the lower trachea, using this novel scope in 12 normal control subjects, 13 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and 24 subjects with stable asthma; 8 were steroid naive with newly diagnosed asthma (Group A) and 16 had been treated with inhaled corticosteroids for more than 5 years (Group B). The redness of bronchial mucosa in patients with asthma observed by conventional fiberoptic bronchoscopy proved to be due to a fine vascular network. Morphometric measurements of subepithelial vessels showed that both vessel area density and vessel length density were significantly (p<0.0001) increased in subjects with asthma as compared with control subjects and patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The degree of increase in vessels did not differ between Group A and Group B. The increase in subepithelial vessels of the airway is present even in newly diagnosed asthma. This novel bronchovideoscope is useful for assessment of vessel network in the surface of the airway lumen in vivo.

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