Vascular Remodelling and Angiogenesis in Asthma: Morphological Aspects and Pharmacological Modulation
Tissue remodelling can affect the entire bronchial wall, including the vascular component of the mucosa, in bronchial asthma. The bronchial mucosa is more vascularized in asthmatic patients than in healthy subjects, showing an increase in the number and dimension of vessels and vascular area. In addition, vascular changes can contribute to obstructing the airway flow in asthma. Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor, a mediator derived from endothelial cells, but also from most inflammatory cells in asthma, plays a primary role in vascular remodelling and angiogenesis. Studies on lung biopsies showed that anti-asthma drugs can decrease to varying degrees the vascular component of airway remodelling in asthma. Among asthma medications, inhaled corticosteroids effectively reverse all aspects of vascular remodelling such as vasodilatation, increased vascular permeability and angiogenesis. A better knowledge of angiogenetic mechanisms in asthma will support the selection of specific medications acting on this aspect of airway remodelling. The aim of this review is to analyze the morphological aspects of the vascular component in airway remodelling in asthma, as well as its pharmacological modulation.
Keywords: Asthma, airway remodelling, angiogenesis, inhaled corticosteroids
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