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The Role of Leukotrienes in Airway Remodeling

[ Vol. 9 , Issue. 3 ]


Anjuli K. Mehrotra and William R. Henderson Jr.   Pages 384 - 391 ( 8 )


Asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the airways that has been typified by its bronchospastic component. New attention has been directed to the long-term changes in asthmatic airways as indicated by the accelerated rate of lung function decline occurring in these patients despite therapy with inhaled corticosteroids. These structural changes in the airway wall, termed airway remodeling, are now thought to be a key component in the pathophysiology of asthma. Airway remodeling is characterized by thickening of the lamina reticularis with deposition of collagen and other extracellular matrix proteins leading to subepithelial fibrosis and increased airway goblet cells causing mucus hypersecretion. Of note, there is myofibroblast proliferation and increased airway smooth muscle mass caused by both hyperplasia and hypertrophy of smooth muscle cells. While an important role for cysteinyl leukotrienes (CysLTs) in the pathogenesis of airway inflammation and bronchoconstriction in asthma has been well-established, the specific role of CysLTs in airway remodeling is less clear. This aim of this review is to summarize the data from mouse models of asthma as well as limited human studies that demonstrate a key role for CysLTs in allergen-induced mucus hypersecretion, thickening of the lamina reticularis, and subepithelial fibrosis in the lungs. We will also focus on the interaction between CysLTs and cytokines/growth factors that mediate these changes in epithelial cells, smooth muscle cells, vasculature, and other structural components of the lungs in patients with asthma.


Leukotriene, remodeling, asthma


Center for Allergy and Inflammation, 815 Mercer Street, Box 358050, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98109, USA.

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