What are the different muscarinic acetylocholine receptor subtypes and how are they distributed in the airways and molecular signalling mechanisms? What is their function in inflammatory mechanisms and in neurogenic and non-neurogenic control of the airways? How is their gene expression regulated? The importance of muscarinic acetylocholine receptors for the pathophysiology and treatment of chronic inflammatory obstructive airways diseases calls for a comprehensive and integrated overview of knowledge to address such questions, to discuss the role of these receptor subtypes in diseases such as asthma and COPD, and to present novel perspectives on antimuscarinic drug development. This book seeks to meet this need. It points out innovative insights into the hitherto poorly understood role of postjunctional muscarinic M2 receptor in airway smooth muscle contraction and sheds some light on the novel concepts of antimuscarinic drug development, with special reference to the long-acting M3 and M1 receptor-selective antagonist tiotropium bromide. The modulation of muscarinic receptor function and cholinergic vagal nerve activity by neurogenic and non-neurogenic inflammatory pathways is dealt with and emphasis laid on the potential importance of these mechanisms to the pathophysiology of asthma and COPD. This book is a reference for pulmonologists and medical, physiological and pharmacological scientists involved in airways research, to whom it offers an update of recent developments in the physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology and therapeutics of the cholinergic system in the airways and a scientific basis for further research in this field.