Possible involvement of acetylcholine-mediated inflammation in airway diseases

Akira Koarai, Masakazu Ichinose

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Inhaled bronchodilator treatment with a long acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) reduces symptoms and the risk of exacerbations in COPD and asthma. However, increasing evidence from cell culture and animal studies suggests that anti-muscarinic drugs could also possess anti-inflammatory effects. Recent studies have revealed that acetylcholine (ACh) can be synthesized and released from both neuronal and non-neuronal cells, and the released ACh can potentiate airway inflammation and remodeling in airway diseases. However, these anti-inflammatory effects of anti-muscarinic drugs have not yet been confirmed in COPD and asthma patients. This review will focus on recent findings about the possible involvement of ACh in airway inflammation and remodeling, and the anti-inflammatory effect of anti-muscarinic drugs in airway diseases. Clarifying the acetylcholine-mediated inflammation could provide insights into the mechanisms of airway diseases, which could lead to future therapeutic strategies for inhibiting the disease progression and exacerbations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-466
Number of pages7
JournalAllergology International
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Oct


  • Airway inflammation
  • Airway remodeling
  • Anti-muscarinic drug
  • Cholinergic regulation
  • Non-neuronal ACh

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


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