Role of airway epithelial barrier dysfunction in pathogenesis of asthma

Abstract
Bronchial asthma is characterized by persistent cough, increased sputum, and repeated wheezing. The pathophysiology underlying these symptoms is the hyper-responsiveness of the airway along with chronic airway inflammation. Repeated injury, repair, and regeneration of the airway epithelium following exposure to environmental factors and inflammation results in histological changes and functional abnormalities in the airway mucosal epithelium; such changes are believed to have a significant association with the pathophysiology of asthma. Damage to the barrier functions of the airway epithelium enhances mucosal permeability of foreign substances in the airway epithelium of patients with asthma. Thus, epithelial barrier fragility is closely involved in releasing epithelial cytokines (e.g., TSLP, IL-25, and IL-33) because of the activation of airway epithelial cells, dendritic cells, and innate group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2). Functional abnormalities of the airway epithelial cells along with the activation of dendritic cells, Th2 cells, and ILC2 form a single immunopathological unit that is considered to cause allergic airway inflammation. Here we use the latest published literature to discuss the potential pathological mechanisms regarding the onset and progressive severity of asthma with regard to the disruption of the airway epithelial function.
 

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Editor: Juan C. Ivancevich, MD

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