Inflammation--a new therapeutic target in pneumonia

Respiration. Mar-Apr 2005;72(2):117-26. doi: 10.1159/000084039.


Inflammation is a hallmark of pneumonia. Therefore, managing inflammation is an attractive adjunct to targeted antibiotic therapy, mainly in severe pneumonia. Recent investigations indicate that glucocorticoids given in physiological doses (from 10-fold to 100-fold less than doses administered in the past) could be of benefit. We could also manage inflammation by administering or influencing cytokines. A major concern is that drugs designed to target a single cytokine or receptor could prove ineffective due to the redundancy of signaling pathways involved. This may require selection of drugs with broad activity or the targeting of molecules common to inflammatory signaling pathways. Drugs affecting multiple molecules or key inflammatory pathway intermediates could be more effective, but their use will need to be weighed against the risk of impairing innate immunity. Indirect approaches to manage inflammation, such as neutralizing cytotoxic substances in the lung (e.g., inhibiting, neutralizing and eliminating endotoxin), could be used in combination with other approaches. Ideally, potential treatment of life-threatening bacterial pneumonia will combine immunoadjuvant and conventional antibiotic therapy, although intense clinical research with immunotherapy has not yet yielded a successful treatment adjunct. We believe that compounds capable of stimulating early host defense and microbial clearance, but not the later phases of inflammatory tissue injury associated with sepsis, may be advantageous.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation* / drug therapy
  • Pneumonia / drug therapy*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Glucocorticoids