Viral infections and asthma: an inflammatory interface?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
The European respiratory journal, 2014, 44 (6), pp. 1666 - 1681
Issue Date:
2014-12
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Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways in which the majority of patients respond to treatment with corticosteroids and β₂-adrenoceptor agonists. Acute exacerbations of asthma substantially contribute to disease morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs, and are not restricted to patients who are not compliant with their treatment regimens. Given that respiratory viral infections are the principal cause of asthma exacerbations, this review article will explore the relationship between viral infections and asthma, and will put forward hypotheses as to why virus-induced exacerbations occur. Potential mechanisms that may explain why current therapeutics do not fully inhibit virus-induced exacerbations, for example, β₂-adrenergic desensitisation and corticosteroid insensitivity, are explored, as well as which aspects of virus-induced inflammation are likely to be attenuated by current therapy.
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