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Lancet Respir Med. 2013 Apr;1(2):137-47. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(12)70058-9. Epub 2013 Jan 30.

How the airway smooth muscle in cystic fibrosis reacts in proinflammatory conditions: implications for airway hyper-responsiveness and asthma in cystic fibrosis.

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Meakins Christie Laboratories, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec Canada.
Meakins Christie Laboratories, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec Canada. Electronic address:


Among patients with cystic fibrosis there is a high prevalence (40-70%) of asthma signs and symptoms such as cough and wheezing and airway hyper-responsiveness to inhaled histamine or methacholine. Whether these abnormal airway responses are due to a primary deficiency in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) or are secondary to the inflammatory environment in the cystic fibrosis lungs is not clear. A role for the CFTR in smooth muscle function is emerging, and alterations in contractile signalling have been reported in CFTR-deficient airway smooth muscle. Persistent bacterial infection, especially with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, stimulates interleukin-8 release from the airway epithelium, resulting in neutrophilic inflammation. Increased neutrophilia and skewing of CFTR-deficient T-helper cells to type 2 helper T cells creates an inflammatory environment characterised by high concentrations of tumour necrosis factor α, interleukin-8, and interleukin-13, which might all contribute to increased contractility of airway smooth muscle in cystic fibrosis. An emerging role of interleukin-17, which is raised in patients with cystic fibrosis, in airway smooth muscle proliferation and hyper-responsiveness is apparent. Increased understanding of the molecular mechanisms responsible for the altered smooth muscle physiology in patients with cystic fibrosis might provide insight into airway dysfunction in this disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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