There is little doubt that chronic asthma represents a unique inflammatory process in which the airway has become the target. Observations that were originally made nearly 100 years ago have been borne out through the use of animal models and technologically sophisticated techniques that allow experimentation on isolated regions of the human bronchial tree. It is also apparent that the pathophysiologic processes responsible for the airway changes observed in asthma are more complex than those presented in this discussion. Neurologic, endocrine, and perhaps even psychologic factors may be involved in the genesis or promulgation of the asthmatic response. Experiments of nature, such as the LAD, provide valuable insights as to the elements necessary to mount an inflammatory response. The recent availability of genetically altered animals lacking genes for certain cytokines and growth factors, so-called 'knockout' mice, may similarly prove useful in the elucidation of the role of individual factors to the overall inflammatory cascade. Further understanding of the mechanism of the asthmatic inflammatory response will bring us closer to the discovery of new therapies designed to treat the causes of asthma, rather than palliate the symptoms.
|Number of pages
|Clinics in Chest Medicine
|Published - 1995
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine