Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a rare genetic disorder caused by a defect in the ion channel Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane conductance Regulator (CFTR), resulting in ionic imbalance of surface fluid. Although affecting multiple organs, the progressive deterioration of respiratory function by recurrent infections and chronic inflammation represents the main cause of morbidity and mortality in CF patients. The development of modulators targeting the basic defect of CFTR has represented a major breakthrough in CF therapy, but the impact on inflammation has remained enigmatic. The emerging scenario taking hold in the field points to inflammation as a major, somehow missed, therapeutic target for prevention of lung decline. Not surprisingly, the development of anti-inflammatory drugs is taking its share in the drug development pipeline. But the path is not straightforward and targeting inflammation should be balanced with the increased risk of infection. The strategy to restore the homeostatic regulation of inflammation to efficiently respond to infection while preventing lung damage needs to be based on identifying and targeting endogenous immunoregulatory pathways that are defective in CF. We herein provide an overview of anti-inflammatory drugs currently approved or under investigation in CF patients, and present our recent studies on how the knowledge on defective immune pathways in CF may translate into innovative and selective anti-inflammatory therapeutics. Through the discovery of naturally occurring molecules or their synthetic mimics, this review emphasizes the critical importance of selectively targeting key inflammatory pathways to preserve immunocompetence in CF patients.
Costantini, Claudio;Puccetti, Matteo;Pariano, Marilena;Renga, Giorgia;Stincardini, Claudia;D’Onofrio, Fiorella;Bellet, Marina M.;Cellini, Barbara;Giovagnoli, Stefano;Romani, Luigina
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