Research ArticleAsthma

Eosinophils increase airway sensory nerve density in mice and in human asthma

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Science Translational Medicine  05 Sep 2018:
Vol. 10, Issue 457, eaar8477
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aar8477

Remodeling airway innervation in asthma

Asthma is a widespread chronic airway disease characterized by airway obstruction, inflammation, and hyperresponsiveness. Symptoms such as bronchoconstriction and cough range from mild intermittent to severe persistent. In eosinophilic asthma, the most common form of asthma, eosinophils in the airway alter nerve function and exacerbate the disease. However, whether eosinophils also affect airway nerve structure is unclear. Now, Drake et al. show that in specimens from patients with severe eosinophilic asthma, airway innervation was increased and positively correlated with symptom severity. In mice, eosinophilia increased airway innervation and triggered bronchoconstriction and airway hyperresponsiveness. The results suggest that structural remodeling of airway innervation contributes to symptom severity in eosinophilic asthma.

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