Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) represents a heightened inflammatory response in the lung generally resulting from tobacco smoking-induced recruitment and activation of inflammatory cells and/or activation of lower airway structural cells. Several mediators can modulate activation and recruitment of these cells, particularly those belonging to the chemokines (conventional and atypical) family. There is emerging evidence for complex roles of atypical chemokines and their receptors (such as high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), antimicrobial peptides, receptor for advanced glycosylation end products (RAGE) or toll-like receptors (TLRs)) in the pathogenesis of COPD, both in the stable disease and during exacerbations. Modulators of these pathways represent potential novel therapies for COPD and many are now in preclinical development. Inhibition of only a single atypical chemokine or receptor may not block inflammatory processes because there is redundancy in this network. However, there are many animal studies that encourage studies for modulating the atypical chemokine network in COPD. Thus, few pharmaceutical companies maintain a significant interest in developing agents that target these molecules as potential antiinflammatory drugs. Antibody-based (biological) and small molecule drug (SMD)-based therapies targeting atypical chemokines and/or their receptors are mostly at the preclinical stage and their progression to clinical trials is eagerly awaited. These agents will most likely enhance our knowledge about the role of atypical chemokines in COPD pathophysiology and thereby improve COPD management.
- HMGB1 Protein
- Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/drug therapy
- Receptors, Chemokine