Nasal involvement in allergic asthma


Dr G.-J. Braunstahl
Department of Pulmonary Medicine
Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam
Dr Molewaterplein 40
3015 GD Rotterdam
The Netherlands


Even since the late 19th century, a relationship has been suspected between upper airway disease and the subsequent development or aggravation of asthma symptoms. To date, it has been generally accepted that pathologic conditions of the upper airways, e.g. allergic rhinitis, chronic sinusitis and nasal polyposis, may influence the lower airways. However, the mechanisms underlying this relationship were, for a long time, poorly understood. Recently, evidence has been accumulating which indicates a systemic connection as one of the responsible mechanisms in nasobronchial crosstalk. In this review, the pathophysiologic and immunologic aspects of the interaction between upper and lower airways will be discussed.