Bronchial hyperresponsiveness

Bronchial hyperresponsiveness (or other combinations with airway or hyperreactivity, BH used as a general abbreviation)[1] is a state characterised by easily triggered bronchospasm (contraction of the bronchioles or small airways).

Bronchial hyperresponsiveness can be assessed with a bronchial challenge test. This most often uses products like methacholine or histamine. These chemicals trigger bronchospasm in normal individuals as well, but people with bronchial hyperresponsiveness have a lower threshold.

Bronchial hyperresponsiveness is a hallmark of asthma but also occurs frequently in people suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).[2] In the Lung Health Study, bronchial hyperresponsiveness was present in approximately two-thirds of patients with non-severe COPD, and this predicted lung function decline independently of other factors.[3] In asthma it tends to be reversible with bronchodilator therapy, while this is not the case in COPD.

Bronchial hyperresponsiveness has been associated with gas cooking among subjects with the GSTM1 null genotype.[4]


  1. Logan, Carolynn M.; Rice, M. Katherine (1987). Logan's Medical and Scientific Abbreviations. J. B. Lippincott and Company. p. 58. ISBN 0-397-54589-4.
  2. Postma DS, Kerstjens HA (November 1998). "Characteristics of airway hyperresponsiveness in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease". Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 158 (5 Pt 3): S187–92. doi:10.1164/ajrccm.158.supplement_2.13tac170. PMID 9817744.
  3. Tashkin DP, Altose MD, Connett JE, Kanner RE, Lee WW, Wise RA (June 1996). "Methacholine reactivity predicts changes in lung function over time in smokers with early chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The Lung Health Study Research Group". Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 153 (6 Pt 1): 1802–11. doi:10.1164/ajrccm.153.6.8665038. PMID 8665038.
  4. Amaral, A. F. S.; Ramasamy, A.; Castro-Giner, F.; Minelli, C.; Accordini, S.; Sorheim, I.-C.; Pin, I.; Kogevinas, M.; Jogi, R.; Balding, D. J.; Norback, D.; Verlato, G.; Olivieri, M.; Probst-Hensch, N.; Janson, C.; Zock, J.-P.; Heinrich, J.; Jarvis, D. L. (10 March 2014). "Interaction between gas cooking and GSTM1 null genotype in bronchial responsiveness: results from the European Community Respiratory Health Survey". Thorax. 69 (6): 558–564. doi:10.1136/thoraxjnl-2013-204574. PMC 4033138. PMID 24613990.
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