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Journal of Allergy
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 108149, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/108149
Review Article

Neuronal Modulation of Airway and Vascular Tone and Their Influence on Nonspecific Airways Responsiveness in Asthma

1Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center, 5501 Hopkins Bayview Circle, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA
2School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia

Received 1 August 2012; Accepted 28 September 2012

Academic Editor: Ynuk Bossé

Copyright © 2012 Brendan J. Canning et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The autonomic nervous system provides both cholinergic and noncholinergic neural inputs to end organs within the airways, which includes the airway and vascular smooth muscle. Heightened responsiveness of the airways to bronchoconstrictive agents is a hallmark feature of reactive airways diseases. The mechanisms underpinning airways hyperreactivity still largely remain unresolved. In this paper we summarize the substantial body of evidence that implicates dysfunction of the autonomic nerves that innervate smooth muscle in the airways and associated vasculature as a prominent cause of airways hyperresponsiveness in asthma.