Targeting airway inflammation in cystic fibrosis

Expert Rev Respir Med. 2019 Nov;13(11):1041-1055. doi: 10.1080/17476348.2019.1666715. Epub 2019 Oct 10.


Introduction: The major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) is lung disease. Inflammation in the CF airways occurs from a young age and contributes significantly to disease progression and shortened life expectancy. Areas covered: In this review, we discuss the key immune cells involved in airway inflammation in CF, the contribution of the intrinsic genetic defect to the CF inflammatory phenotype, and anti-inflammatory strategies designed to overcome what is a critical factor in the pathogenesis of CF lung disease. Review of the literature was carried out using the MEDLINE (from 1975 to 2018), Google Scholar and The Cochrane Library databases. Expert opinion: Therapeutic interventions specifically targeting the defective CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein have changed the clinical landscape and significantly improved the outlook for CF. As survival estimates for people with CF increase, long-term management has become an important focus, with an increased need for therapies targeted at specific elements of inflammation, to complement CFTR modulator therapies.

Keywords: Cystic fibrosis; inflammation; therapeutic targets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / drug therapy
  • Cystic Fibrosis / pathology*
  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Respiratory System*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • CFTR protein, human
  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator