Targeting systemic inflammation: novel therapies for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2007 Oct;11(10):1273-86. doi: 10.1517/14728222.11.10.1273.


The increasing evidence that inflammation in the lungs leads to the structural changes observed in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, whereas extrapulmonary symptoms and comorbidities may be systemic manifestations of these inflammatory processes, highlights an urgent need to discover novel, effective anti-inflammatory treatments for this disease. Some studies are suggesting that, by decreasing dynamic hyperinflation, bronchodilators might reduce systemic inflammation; inhaled corticosteroids and their combination with long-acting beta2-agonists might contribute to this goal. Even so, the opinion that suppression of the inflammatory response might improve systemic complications is stimulating a search for novel anti-inflammatory therapies. Many drugs include those that inhibit the recruitment and activation of inflammatory cells and/or antagonise their products. However, many of these therapeutic strategies are not specific for neutrophilic inflammation because they affect other cell types, thus, it is difficult to interpret whether any clinical benefit observed is a result of a reduction in airway neutrophils. In any case, there is some evidence that drugs used to treat a co-morbid condition, such as statins, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiontensin II type 1 (AT1) receptor blockers as well as glycosaminoglycans and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) agonists, might benefit chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients because they deal with the extrapulmonary, systemic component of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Comorbidity
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / pathology*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents