Regulation of human airway smooth muscle cell migration and relevance to asthma
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Airway remodelling is an important feature of asthma pathogenesis. A key structural change inherent in airway remodelling is increased airway smooth muscle mass. There is emerging evidence to suggest that the migration of airway smooth muscle cells may contribute to cellular hyperplasia, and thus increased airway smooth muscle mass. The precise source of these cells remains unknown. Increased airway smooth muscle mass may be collectively due to airway infiltration of myofibroblasts, neighbouring airway smooth muscle cells in the bundle, or circulating hemopoietic progenitor cells. However, the relative contribution of each cell type is not well understood. In addition, although many studies have identified pro and anti-migratory agents of airway smooth muscle cells, whether these agents can impact airway remodelling in the context of human asthma, remains to be elucidated. As such, further research is required to determine the exact mechanism behind airway smooth muscle cell migration within the airways, how much this contributes to airway smooth muscle mass in asthma, and whether attenuating this migration may provide a therapeutic avenue for asthma. In this review article, we will discuss the current evidence with respect to the regulation of airway smooth muscle cell migration in asthma.
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