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Pulmonary Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 670414, 8 pages
Review Article

Airway Remodelling in Asthma and COPD: Findings, Similarities, and Differences Using Quantitative CT

1Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Imaging, CHU Bordeaux, avenue de Magellan, 33604 Pessac, France
2Laboratory of Cellular Respiratory Physiology, Centre de Recherche Cardio-Thoracique de Bordeaux, INSERM U1045. University Bordeaux Segalen, 146, rue Léo Saignat, 33076 Bordeaux, France

Received 4 August 2011; Revised 10 November 2011; Accepted 14 November 2011

Academic Editor: Marc Decramer

Copyright © 2012 Gaël Dournes and François Laurent. 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.


Airway remodelling is a well-established feature in asthma and chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD), secondary to chronic airway inflammation. The structural changes found on pathological examination of remodelled airway wall have been shown to display similarities but also differences. Computed tomography (CT) is today a remarkable tool to assess airway wall morphology in vivo since submillimetric acquisitions over the whole lung volume could be obtained allowing 3D evaluation. Recently, CT-derived indices extracted from CT images have been described and are thought to assess airway remodelling. This may help understand the complex mechanism underlying the remodelling process, which is still not fully understood. This paper summarizes the various methods described to quantify airway remodelling in asthma and COPD using CT, and similarities and differences between both diseases will be emphasized.