The hallmark traits of chronic obstructive airway diseases are inflammation, airway constriction due to hyperreactivity and mucus overproduction. The current common treatments for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease target the first two traits with none currently targeting mucus overproduction. The main source of obstructive mucus production is mucus cell metaplasia (MCM), the transdifferentiation of airway epithelial cells into mucus-producing goblet cells, in the small airways. Our current understanding of MCM is profusely incomplete. Few of the molecular players involved in driving MCM in humans have been identified and for many of those that have, their functions and mechanisms are unknown. This fact has limited the development of therapeutics that target mucus overproduction by inhibiting MCM. Current work in the field is aiming to change that.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-506
Number of pages4
JournalExpert Review of Respiratory Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2015


  • Asthma
  • CLCA1
  • COPD
  • Calcium-activated chloride channel
  • Mucus overproduction
  • TMEM16A


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