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Proc Am Thorac Soc. 2011 Aug;8(4):368-75. doi: 10.1513/pats.201102-019RM.

Rationale and emerging approaches for targeting lung repair and regeneration in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep & Allergy Section, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska, USA.


Lung repair and regeneration are appropriate therapeutic targets for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Abnormal repair results if fibrosis of the airways is a major contributor to fixed airflow limitation in airway disease. Inadequate repair in the face of tissue injury can contribute to the development of emphysema. With respect to the latter, acute exposure to cigarette smoke can impair repair responses of several cell types in the lung. Fibroblasts cultured from the lungs of patients with emphysema have persistent defects in repair that include modulation of extracellular matrix as well as production of growth factors that modulate other lung parenchymal cells. Some of the deficient repair functions appear to result from insensitivity to TGF-β and overproduction of prostaglandin E. Pharmacologic interventions targeting these pathways have the potential to at least partially reverse the abnormal repair. Alternate strategies that could modulate lung repair and regeneration could target resident or circulating stem/progenitor cells or potentially involve transplantation of new stem cells. Therapy directed at lung repair has the potential to restore lost lung function. In contrast to therapy designed to slow the progression of COPD, it may be much easier and less expensive to demonstrate efficacy for a therapy that restores lung function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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