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ISRN Allergy
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 195846, 7 pages
Review Article

Airway Epithelium in Atopic and Nonatopic Asthma: Similarities and Differences

MRC and Asthma UK Centre for Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma, The Department of Asthma, Allergy and Respiratory Science, Tower Wing, Guy's Hospital, King's College London, London SE1 9RT, UK

Received 19 September 2011; Accepted 13 October 2011

Academic Editor: S. Mattoli

Copyright © 2011 Prathap Pillai 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.


Asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the airways, and the airway epithelium has the central role in its pathogenesis. In general, the airway inflammation is characterised by the infiltration of the epithelium and submucosa by a range of inflammatory cells driven largely by Th-2 lymphocytes, eosinophils, and mast cells. The pathogenic mechanisms of nonatopic asthma in comparison to its atopic counterpart have always been a subject of debate. Although clinically are two distinct entities, more similarities than differences have been observed between the two in terms of immunopathogenesis, underlying IgE mechanisms, and so on. in a number of previous studies. More information has become available in recent years comparing the ultrastructure of the epithelium in these two types of asthma. A comparison of airway epithelium in atopic and nonatopic asthma is presented here from the available information in the literature. Similarities outnumber the differences, until we unravel the mystery surrounding these two important phenotypes of asthma in more detail.