Protein kinases as small molecule inhibitor targets in inflammation

Curr Med Chem. 2007;14(21):2214-34. doi: 10.2174/092986707781696636.


The human kinome describes a major group of intracellular signalling molecules. In the last few years, many molecules in the group have become targets for therapeutic interventions. Due to the conserved reaction mechanism of catalysis, protein kinases seem well "drugable" by small molecular weight inhibitors, thus opening the chance to novel oral bioavailable drug development. A large number of small molecule weight inhibitors for protein kinases have already been introduced into research and these molecules are extensively analysed in regard to their efficiency, potency and selectivity. Here we summarise the use of small molecule protein kinase inhibitors relevant for acute and chronic inflammation based on their essential role in cellular signaling mechanisms in immune cells such as macrophages, lymphoytes and granulocytes. We describe the progress made to develop inhibitors against Toll-like receptor associated kinases (IRAKs), against the MAPK kinase kinases Cot/Tpl-2 and TAK1, against Inhibitor-kappaB kinases (IKKs), against MAPK kinases (MEKs, MKKs), against MAPKs (ERK2, p38, JNKs) and against their downstream kinases MNK1 and MK2/3. This overview should help to keep up with the fast developing field and the continuously growing number of protein kinase inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / enzymology
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / metabolism*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*


  • Cytokines
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Protein Kinases