Pathogenesis of Bronchial Asthma

  • Michael H. Grieco
Part of the Comprehensive Immunology book series (COMIMUN, volume 6)


Bronchial asthma, a disease referred to in the Hippocratic writings, was vividly described by Aretaeus in the second century. Galen thought of asthma as the result of the accumulation of thick secretions coming down from the brain via conduits to the upper and lower respiratory tracts. The vagal nervous system and heredity were implicated as etiological factors by Eberle’s treatise on the practice of medicine published in 1830 in Philadelphia. Thereafter numerous authors thought of spasmodic asthma as the result of perverted innervation of the vagi based on experimental demonstration that stimulation of the vagus nerve produced contraction of the bronchi. These reports and observations culminated in the hypothesis of Eppinger and Hess (1915) that asthma is due to functional imbalance of the autonomic nervous system resulting from vagotonia and excessive cholinergic activity and in the local “organ vagotonia” concept of Takino (1946).


Mast Cell Histamine Release Airway Smooth Muscle Small Airway Mast Cell Degranulation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael H. Grieco
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.R. A. Cooke Institute of Allergy and the Allergy, Clinical Immunology, and Infectious Disease Division, Medical ServiceThe Roosevelt HospitalNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Clinical MedicineColumbia University College of Physicians and SurgeonsNew YorkUSA

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