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Allergy. 1995;50(22 Suppl):13-21.

The airway inflammatory response in allergic asthma and its relationship to clinical disease.

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1
Southampton General Hospital, U.K.

Abstract

Endobronchial biopsy and lavage studies have revealed the presence of mast cell, eosinophil, T-lymphocyte and epithelial cell activation in asthma, along with the structural changes of tissue eosinophil infiltration, loss of superficial columnar ciliated epithelial cells and enhanced collagen deposition in the laminar reticularis. As these cellular and structural changes underlie the clinical features of asthma, i.e., symptom expression, variable airflow obstruction and bronchial hyperresponsiveness, and understanding of their induction and regulation is essential to the understanding of the asthmatic process. The acute airway response to allergen has been studied by the technique of local endobronchial allergen challenge with direct airway sampling in asthma. These studies identify allergen-mast cell interaction as the initial airway event, with mediator release inducing bronchoconstriction and enhancing vascular permeability. As preformed cytokines are present in mast cells, cytokine release from this cell population is likely to initiate the process of endothelial cell activation, with upregulation of cell adhesion molecules, and tissue cell recruitment. Subsequent cytokine elaboration from airway macrophages and T-lymphocytes will perpetuate this response while in chronic clinical disease T-lymphocytes, mast cells, matrix tissue, epithelial cells and eosinophils themselves are all likely to contribute to the cytokine pool within the airways and thus to the regulation of inflammatory cell migration and activation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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