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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 875403, 10 pages
Review Article

Anti-Inflammatory Dimethylfumarate: A Potential New Therapy for Asthma?

1Pulmonary Cell Research, Department of Biomedicine, University of Basel, Hebelstraße 20, 4031 Basel, Switzerland
2Pneumology, Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Basel, Petersgraben 4, 4031 Basel, Switzerland

Received 11 December 2012; Revised 7 February 2013; Accepted 7 February 2013

Academic Editor: Gustavo Duarte Pimentel

Copyright © 2013 Petra Seidel and Michael Roth. 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 a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways, which results from the deregulated interaction of inflammatory cells and tissue forming cells. Beside the derangement of the epithelial cell layer, the most prominent tissue pathology of the asthmatic lung is the hypertrophy and hyperplasia of the airway smooth muscle cell (ASMC) bundles, which actively contributes to airway inflammation and remodeling. ASMCs of asthma patients secrete proinflammatory chemokines CXCL10, CCL11, and RANTES which attract immune cells into the airways and may thereby initiate inflammation. None of the available asthma drugs cures the disease—only symptoms are controlled. Dimethylfumarate (DMF) is used as an anti-inflammatory drug in psoriasis and showed promising results in phase III clinical studies in multiple sclerosis patients. In regard to asthma therapy, DMF has been anecdotally reported to reduce asthma symptoms in patients with psoriasis and asthma. Here we discuss the potential use of DMF as a novel therapy in asthma on the basis of in vitro studies of its inhibitory effect on ASMC proliferation and cytokine secretion in ASMCs.