The cytokine network in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2009 Dec;41(6):631-8. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2009-0220TR. Epub 2009 Aug 28.


Multiple cytokines play a role in the orchestration of inflammation in inflammatory airway diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, through the recruitment, activation and survival of inflammatory cells. Lymphokines secreted from T cells regulate the pattern of inflammation, whereas proinflammatory cytokines amplify and perpetuate the inflammatory response. Multiple chemokines recruit inflammatory cells from the circulation into the lungs and many growth factors maintain this inflammation and lead to characteristic structural changes in the airways. There are several therapeutic approaches that target cytokine-mediated inflammation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but blocking specific cytokines may not provide clinical benefit, whereas broad-spectrum anti-inflammatory approaches are more likely to be clinically effective.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / metabolism
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Chemokines / metabolism
  • Cytokines / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Growth Substances / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / etiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / immunology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / metabolism*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines
  • Growth Substances
  • Inflammation Mediators