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Future therapeutic treatment of COPD: Struggle between oxidants and cytokines

Authors Willem I de Boer, Hongwei Yao, Irfan Rahman

Published 15 October 2007 Volume 2007:2(3) Pages 205—228


Willem I de Boer1, Hongwei Yao2, Irfan Rahman2

1Netherlands Asthma Foundation, Leusden, The Netherlands; 2Department of Environmental Medicine, Lung Biology and Disease Program, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester NY, USA

Abstract: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a global health problem. Being a progressive disease characterized by inflammation and predominantly caused by tobacco smoking, it deteriorates pulmonary and skeletal muscle functioning, and reduces physical behavior, societal participation and quality of life. During the last two decades studies were focused on the airway and systemic inflammation, oxidative stress, and airway and/or parenchymal remodeling. Macrophages, neutrophils and T cells are thought to be important key players, as well as structural cells like fibroblasts, epithelial, endothelial and smooth muscle cells. Mediators and proteins including cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, proteinases, and oxidants seem to be involved differentially in its pathogenesis. Current pharmacological treatments are directed to reducing airway inflammation, boosting the endogenous levels of anti-oxidants and relieving airway contraction and sputum production. Most agents were primarily used for treating asthma. But in contrast to asthma, these treatments are not very effective in COPD. As a result, novel more specifically acting interventional drugs with less side effects are being developed to treat chronic inflammatory diseases, including COPD. This review highlights studies on novel or potential drug antioxidants such as dietary antioxidants supplementation, N-acetyl-L-cysteine, N-acystelyn, endosteine, antioxidant enzyme mimetics, and anti-inflammatory agents like antagonists of cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, CXCL8, and CCL2, and inhibitors of signal transduction proteins including phosphodiesterase 4, MAPK p38, Pl-3k, and NFκB.

Keywords: COPD, inflammation, remodeling, cytokines, antioxidants, antagonists

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