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Role of p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase in Asthma and COPD: Pathogenic Aspects and Potential Targeted Therapies

Authors Pelaia C, Vatrella A, Gallelli L, Lombardo N, Sciacqua A, Savino R, Pelaia G

Received 8 January 2021

Accepted for publication 23 February 2021

Published 23 March 2021 Volume 2021:15 Pages 1275—1284


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Tin Wui Wong

Corrado Pelaia,1 Alessandro Vatrella,2 Luca Gallelli,1 Nicola Lombardo,3 Angela Sciacqua,3 Rocco Savino,3 Girolamo Pelaia1

1Department of Health Sciences, University “Magna Græcia” of Catanzaro, Catanzaro, Italy; 2Department of Medicine, Surgery and Dentistry, University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy; 3Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University “Magna Græcia” of Catanzaro, Catanzaro, Italy

Correspondence: Girolamo Pelaia
Department of Health Sciences, University Magna Græcia of Catanzaro, Viale Europa – Località Germaneto, Catanzaro, 88100, Italy
Tel + 39 0961 3647171
Fax + 39 0961 3647193
Email [email protected]

Abstract: Among the various members of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) family, p38 MAPK subgroup is the most involved in airway and lung inflammation underlying asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In particular, several environmental agents including aeroallergens, cigarette smoke, airborne pollutants, viral and bacterial pathogens activate the p38α isoform which in turn up-regulates the expression of multiple proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, as well as the production of some fibrogenic factors. Therefore, p38 MAPK-induced bronchial inflammation and remodelling significantly contribute to the development, persistence and amplification of airflow limitation, which is the hallmark of asthma and COPD. Such advances in our understanding of p38 role in the pathobiology of the above widespread, chronic obstructive respiratory diseases, have led to consider p38 MAPK as a suitable molecular target for novel treatment strategies. Indeed, many studies have been carried out in both animal and clinical settings, with the aim of evaluating the potential therapeutic effects of p38 MAPK inhibitors in both asthma and COPD.

Keywords: asthma, COPD, airway inflammation, p38-MAPK, p38-MAPK inhibitors

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