Airway smooth muscle as an immunomodulatory cell
Although pivotal in regulating bronchomotor tone in asthma, airway smooth muscle (ASM) also modulates airway inflammation in asthma. ASM myocytes secrete or express a wide array of immunomodulatory mediators in response to extracellular stimuli, and in chronic severe asthma, increases in ASM mass may also render the airway irreversibly obstructed. Although the mechanisms by which ASM secretes cytokines and chemokines are shared with those regulating immune cells, there exist unique ASM signaling pathways that may provide novel therapeutic targets. This review provides an overview of our current understanding of the proliferative as well as synthetic properties of ASM.
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