Eosinophilic airway inflammation: role in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Leena George, Christopher E Brightling
Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease 2016, 7 (1): 34-51
The chronic lung diseases, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are common affecting over 500 million people worldwide and causing substantial morbidity and mortality. Asthma is typically associated with Th2-mediated eosinophilic airway inflammation, in contrast to neutrophilic inflammation observed commonly in COPD. However, there is increasing evidence that the eosinophil might play an important role in 10-40% of patients with COPD. Consistently in both asthma and COPD a sputum eosinophilia is associated with a good response to corticosteroid therapy and tailored strategies aimed to normalize sputum eosinophils reduce exacerbation frequency and severity. Advances in our understanding of the multistep paradigm of eosinophil recruitment to the airway, and the consequence of eosinophilic inflammation, has led to the development of new therapies to target these molecular pathways. In this article we discuss the mechanisms of eosinophilic trafficking, the tools to assess eosinophilic airway inflammation in asthma and COPD during stable disease and exacerbations and review current and novel anti-eosinophilic treatments.

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