Transforming Growth Factor β1 Function in Airway Remodeling and Hyperresponsiveness. The Missing Link?
The pathogenesis of asthma includes a complex interplay among airway inflammation, hyperresponsiveness, and remodeling. Current evidence suggests that airway structural cells, including bronchial smooth muscle cells, myofibroblasts, fibroblasts, and epithelial cells, mediate all three aspects of asthma pathogenesis. Although studies show a connection between airway remodeling and changes in bronchomotor tone, the relationship between the two remains unclear. Transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1), a growth factor elevated in the airway of patients with asthma, plays a role in airway remodeling and in the shortening of various airway structural cells. However, the role of TGF-β1 in mediating airway hyperresponsiveness remains unclear. In this review, we summarize the literature addressing the role of TGF-β1 in airway remodeling and shortening. Through our review, we aim to further elucidate the role of TGF-β1 in asthma pathogenesis and the link between airway remodeling and airway hyperresponsiveness in asthma and to define TGF-β1 as a potential therapeutic target for reducing asthma morbidity and mortality.