The assessment of responses of the respiratory system to new drugs is dependent upon the particular pathology and condition being treated. The lung can be divided into vascular and parenchymal compartments. Pharmacological manipulation of the pulmonary vasculature is discussed elsewhere. Diseases of the parenchyma involve either the conducting airways, as in asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or the alveoli, interstitium and gas-exchanging membranes, as in pulmonary fibrosis. Drug evaluation in respiratory disease therefore depends upon the assessment of responses to therapies manipulating airflow and airway resistance, lung volumes and gas exchange.
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