Motility, survival, and proliferation

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Comprehensive Physiology, 2012, 2 (1), pp. 255 - 281
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Airway smooth muscle has classically been of interest for its contractile response linked to bronchoconstriction. However, terminally differentiated smooth muscle cells are phenotypically plastic and have multifunctional capacity for proliferation, cellular hypertrophy, migration, and the synthesis of extracellularmatrix and inflammatorymediators. These latter properties of airway smooth muscle are important in airway remodeling which is a structural alteration that compounds the impact of contractile responses on limiting airway conductance. In this overview, we describe the important signaling components and the functional evidence supporting a view of smooth muscle cells at the core of fibroproliferative remodeling of hollow organs. Signal transduction components and events are summarized that control the basic cellular processes of proliferation, cell survival, apoptosis, and cellular migration. We delineate known intracellular control mechanisms and suggest future areas of interest to pursue to more fully understand factors that regulate normal myocyte function and airway remodeling in obstructive lung diseases. © 2012 American Physiological Society.
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