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Drugs Today (Barc). 1998 Jun;34(6):549-61.

New aerosol drug delivery systems for the treatment of immune-mediated pulmonary diseases.

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Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


In the lung, unchecked immune responses mediated predominantly by T-lymphocytes and concurrent inflammation can lead to the development of different pathological conditions such as parenchymal disease, interstitial fibrosis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, bronchiolitis obliterans and bronchiolar asthma. Targeted modulation of uncontrolled T-cell activation and inhibition of cytokine production within different pulmonary compartments is the challenge for the development of novel methods for immunotherapeutic intervention. Utilization of aerosol technology for pulmonary drug delivery represents new potential opportunities for therapeutic application for such immune-mediated pulmonary diseases. For targeted aerosol pulmonary drug delivery, continuous-flow jet nebulizers have several advantages over metered dose or dry powder inhalers since they are the simplest and most effective for aerosol droplet deposition into the peripheral lung tissues. At the present, the major limitations for targeted pulmonary immunosuppression through effective utilization of nebulizer technology has been the conspicuous lack of suitable formulations. The development of liposomal formulations compatible with aerosol delivery with jet nebulizers has expanded the potential for more effective utilization with an array of potent and effective immunosuppressive drugs. For pulmonary therapy, the utilization of liposomes for aerosol delivery has many potential advantages, including universal carrier suitability for most lipophilic drugs, aqueous compatibility, sustained pulmonary release or depot and intracellular delivery. Drug liposomes may also prevent local irritation in the lung, and increase potency with reduced systemic toxicity. Successful utilization of potent immunosuppressive drugs, like cyclosporin, tacrolimus (FK-506), rapamycin, mycophenolate and budesonide, in a variety of immunopathological conditions for other indications demonstrates their potential efficacy for the treatment of many different immune-mediated pulmonary diseases. The route of delivery to the pulmonary tissues can potentially limit adverse effects and markedly affect localized immunosuppressive activity in the lung. Combination of liposomal formulations with topical aerosol delivery to the central and peripheral lung tissues has expanded potential for more effective utilization with these lipophilic immunosuppressive (and antiinflammatory) drugs. Synergistic combinations can also be developed for localized and sustained delivery of therapeutic drug concentrations within the lung to provide multisite immunosuppression. Drug liposome aerosol technology represents one readily available approach for more effective therapeutic intervention in the lung using cyclosporin, FK-506, rapamycin, mycophenolate, budesonide and other lipophilic drugs.


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