Hypercapnia: An aggravating factor in asthma

Masahiko Shigemura, Tetsuya Homma, Jacob I. Sznajder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Asthma is a common chronic respiratory disorder with relatively good outcomes in the majority of patients with appropriate maintenance therapy. However, in a small minority, patients can experience severe asthma with respiratory failure and hypercapnia, necessitating intensive care unit admission. Hypercapnia occurs due to alveolar hypoventilation and insufficient removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the blood. Although mild hypercapnia is generally well tolerated in patients with asthma, there is accumulating evidence that elevated levels of CO2 can act as a gaso-signaling molecule, triggering deleterious effects in various organs such as the lung, skeletal muscles and the innate immune system. Here, we review recent advances on pathophysiological response to hypercapnia and discuss potential detrimental effects of hypercapnia in patients with asthma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3207
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Airway contractility
  • Asthma
  • Hypercapnia
  • Innate immune response
  • Obesity
  • Respiratory failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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