Muscling in on airway inflammation in asthma

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An important relationship exists between airway inflammation and airway smooth muscle (ASM) in patients with asthma. Most studies have examined this relationship in terms of changes in muscle tone, especially bronchoconstriction. However, recent studies have shown that contractile ASM cells also have the capacity to secrete a range of inflammatory mediators, and it is becoming clear that ASM cells can play a significant role in maintaining and perpetuating the airway inflammatory processes in asthma, delegates were told at the 13th International Congress of Pharmacology (IUPHAR) [Munich, Germany; July 1998]. Improved understanding of this close interaction between ASM and inflammation could help identify novel targets for drug development.

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