Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: a nervous cough?

Pulm Pharmacol Ther. 2004;17(6):347-50. doi: 10.1016/j.pupt.2004.09.029.


Little is known about the mechanisms which generate cough in patients with diffuse parenchymal lung disease. This article outlines some of the possible mechanisms which cause cough in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). It goes on to discuss what is currently known about the enhanced cough reflex which afflicts patients with this condition, and describes recent evidence for enhanced expression of neurotrophins in the lungs of these patients. Preliminary data indicating that corticosteroids can reduce the cough reflex response to capsaicin and substance P in IPF offer hope that more specific therapies may be developed in the future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Capsaicin / pharmacology
  • Capsaicin / therapeutic use
  • Cough / drug therapy
  • Cough / etiology*
  • Cough / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Nerve Growth Factors / biosynthesis
  • Nerve Growth Factors / immunology
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / complications*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / drug therapy
  • Substance P / pharmacology
  • Substance P / therapeutic use


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Substance P
  • Capsaicin