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Respir Med. 2008 Aug;102(8):1173-81. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2008.02.020. Epub 2008 Jun 24.

Molecular mechanisms underlying airway smooth muscle contraction and proliferation: implications for asthma.

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Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University "Magna Graecia" of Catanzaro, Italy.


Airway smooth muscle (ASM) plays a key role in bronchomotor tone, as well as in structural remodeling of the bronchial wall. Therefore, ASM contraction and proliferation significantly participate in the development and progression of asthma. Many contractile agonists also behave as mitogenic stimuli, thus contributing to frame a hyperresponsive and hyperplastic ASM phenotype. In this review, the molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways involved in excitation-contraction coupling and ASM cell growth will be outlined. Indeed, the recent advances in understanding the basic aspects of ASM biology are disclosing important cellular targets, currently explored for the implementation of new, more effective anti-asthma therapies.

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