Inflammation Research

, Volume 68, Issue 1, pp 59–74 | Cite as

A review of inflammatory mechanism in airway diseases

  • Parya Aghasafari
  • Uduak George
  • Ramana PidapartiEmail author


Inflammation in the lung is the body’s natural response to injury. It acts to remove harmful stimuli such as pathogens, irritants, and damaged cells and initiate the healing process. Acute and chronic pulmonary inflammation are seen in different respiratory diseases such as; acute respiratory distress syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and cystic fibrosis (CF).


In this review, we found that inflammatory response in COPD is determined by the activation of epithelial cells and macrophages in the respiratory tract. Epithelial cells and macrophages discharge transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), which trigger fibroblast proliferation and tissue remodeling. Asthma leads to airway hyper-responsiveness, obstruction, mucus hyper-production, and airway-wall remodeling. Cytokines, allergens, chemokines, and infectious agents are the main stimuli that activate signaling pathways in epithelial cells in asthma. Mutation of the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene results in CF. Mutations in CFTR influence the lung epithelial innate immune function that leads to exaggerated and ineffective airway inflammation that fails to abolish pulmonary pathogens. We present mechanistic computational models (based on ordinary differential equations, partial differential equations and agent-based models) that have been applied in studying the complex physiological and pathological mechanisms of chronic inflammation in different airway diseases.


The scope of the present review is to explore the inflammatory mechanism in airway diseases and highlight the influence of aging on airways’ inflammation mechanism. The main goal of this review is to encourage research collaborations between experimentalist and modelers to promote our understanding of the physiological and pathological mechanisms that control inflammation in different airway diseases.


Inflammation Inflammaging Airway disease Computational modeling 



The authors thank NSF for supporting this work through a Grant CMMI-1430379.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Parya Aghasafari
    • 1
  • Uduak George
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ramana Pidaparti
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.College of EngineeringUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsSan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA

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