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New studies have revealed an essential role for TRPA1, a sensory neuronal TRP ion channel, in airway chemosensation and inflammation. TRPA1 is activated by chlorine, reactive oxygen species, and noxious constituents of smoke and smog, initiating irritation and airway reflex responses. Together with TRPV1, the capsaicin receptor, TRPA1 may contribute to chemical hypersensitivity, chronic cough, and airway inflammation in asthma, COPD, and reactive airway dysfunction syndrome.
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