Chapter 1
Oscillation of Airway Smooth Muscle as a Potential Non-Medicinal Treatment for Asthma


In this chapter, the potential for mechanical oscillations as a novel approach for the treatment of asthma is discussed. Asthmatic attacks are induced by contraction of the smooth muscles of a human airway. These contractions can be dampened by muscle-length oscillations such as those that occur during breathing. Alteration of these breathing patterns, for instance, by superposing pressure wave oscillations, could help to reduce airway smooth muscle contraction during an asthmatic attack. The aim of this chapter is to review the influence of oscillations on airway smooth muscle including both experimental investigations and mathematical modeling.

  • Abstract
  • 1.1 Introduction
  • 1.2 Asthma
  • 1.2.1 Medicinal Treatments
  • 1.2.2 Alternative Treatments
  • 1.2.3 The Role of Airway Wall Components
  • 1.2.4 The Role of Lung Parenchyma
  • 1.2.5 Heterogenic Behaviour of Airways
  • 1.2.6 The Role of Airway Smooth Muscle
  • 1.3 Dynamics in Respiratory Function
  • 1.3.1 Airway and ASM Dynamics
  • 1.4 Molecular Basis of Airway Smooth Muscle Contraction
  • 1.4.1 The Thick Filament
  • 1.4.2 The Thin Filament
  • 1.4.3 Thick and Thin Filament Polymerization and Depolymerization
  • 1.4.4 The Contractile Process
  • 1.4.5 The Cytoskeleton
  • 1.4.6 Causes of Smooth Muscle Response to Oscillations
  • 1.5 Mathematical Modeling of Smooth Muscle Dynamics
  • 1.5.1 Tissue-Level Empirical Contraction Models
  • 1.5.2 Cross-Bridge Models
  • 1.5.3 Length Adaptation Models
  • 1.6 Future Directions
  • References

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