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Special Feature |

Structural Changes in Airway Diseases*: Characteristics, Mechanisms, Consequences, and Pharmacologic Modulation

Céline Bergeron, MD, MSc; Louis-Philippe Boulet, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

*From the Centre de recherche de l’Hôpital Laval, Institut de cardiologie et de pneumologie de l’Université Laval, Hôpital Laval, Québec, QC, Canada.

Correspondence to: Louis-Philippe Boulet, MD, FCCP, Hôpital Laval 2725, Chemin Sainte-Foy, Québec, QC, Canada, GlV 4G5; e-mail: lpboulet@med.ulaval.ca



Chest. 2006;129(4):1068-1087. doi:10.1378/chest.129.4.1068
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In airway diseases such as asthma and COPD, specific structural changes may be observed, very likely secondary to an underlying inflammatory process. Although it is still controversial, airway remodeling may contribute to the development of these diseases and to their clinical expression and outcome. Airway remodeling has been described in asthma in various degrees of severity, and correlations have been found between such features as increase in subepithelial collagen or proteoglycan deposits and airway responsiveness. Although the clinical significance of airway remodeling remains a matter of debate, it has been suggested as a potential target for treatments aimed at reducing asthma severity, improving its control, and possibly preventing its development. To date, drugs used to treat airway diseases have a little influence on airway structural changes. More research should be done to identify key changes, valuable treatments, and proper interventional timing to counteract these changes. The potential of novel therapeutic agents to reverse or prevent airway remodeling is an exciting avenue and warrants further evaluation.

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