Pathophysiology of asthma at steady state and during an exacerbation. The airways of asthmatic individuals are characterized by pathological changes, including thickened basement membrane, collagen deposition and hypertrophic smooth muscle, collectively called ‘airway remodeling’. Inflammation is triggered by a variety of factors, including allergens and respiratory viruses. These factors also induce hyperreactive responses in the asthmatic airways, associated with mucus and cell debris released into the lumen, oedema and bronchoconstriction, leading to airway obstruction and related acute exacerbations. Although pathophysiological changes related to asthma are generally reversible, recovery may be partial.
Papadopoulos et al. Clinical and Translational Allergy 2012 2:21 doi:10.1186/2045-7022-2-21