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Respir Res. 2001;2(6):333-9. Epub 2001 Aug 10.

Small airway inflammation in asthma.

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Meakins-Christie Laboratories, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Asthma was originally described as an inflammatory disease that predominantly involves the central airways. Pathological and physiological evidence reported during the past few years suggests that the inflammatory process extends beyond the central airways to the peripheral airways and the lung parenchyma. The small airways are capable of producing T-helper-2 cytokines, as well as chemokines, and they have recently been recognized as a predominant site of airflow obstruction in asthmatic persons. The inflammation at this distal site has been described as more severe than large airway inflammation. These findings are of great clinical significance, and highlight the need to consider the peripheral airways as a target in any therapeutic strategy for treatment of asthma.

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