, Volume 72, Issue 10, pp 1299-1312
Date: 03 Jan 2012

Corticosteroid Resistance and Novel Anti-Inflammatory Therapies in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

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Abstract

Corticosteroids are widely used in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, in contrast to their use in mild-to-moderate asthma, they are much less effective in enhancing lung function and have little or no effect on controlling the underlying chronic inflammation. In most clinical trials in COPD patients, corticosteroids have shown little benefit as monotherapy, but have shown a greater clinical effect in combination with long-acting bronchodilators. Several mechanisms of corticosteroid resistance have been postulated, including a reduction in histone deacetylase (HDAC)-2 activity and expression, impaired corticosteroid activation of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and increased pro-inflammatory signalling pathways. Reversal of corticosteroid resistance in COPD patients by restoring HDAC2 levels has proved effective in a small study, and long-term studies are needed to determine whether novel HDAC2 activators or theophylline improve disease progression, exacerbations or mortality. Advances in the understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of corticosteroid resistance in COPD pathophysiology have supported the development of new emerging classes of anti-inflammatory drugs in COPD treatment. These include treatments such as inhibitors of phosphoinositide-3-kinase-delta (PI3Kδ), phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4), p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), and therapeutic agents such as chemokine receptor antagonists. Of these, PI3Kδ, PDE4, p38 MAPK inhibitors and chemokine receptor antagonists are in clinical patient trials. Of importance, patient adverse effects associated with oral administration of these novel agents needs to be addressed in order to optimize therapy and patient compliance. Combinations of these drugs with corticosteroids may have additional benefits.