Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is the most common fatal inherited disease of Caucasians, affecting about 1 in 3000 births. Patients with CF have a recessive mutation in the gene encoding the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). CFTR is expressed in the epithelium of many organs throughout the exocrine system, however, inflammation and damage of the airways as a result of persistent progressive endobronchial infection is a central feature of CF. The inflammatory response to infection brings about a sustained recruitment of neutrophils to the site of infection. These neutrophils release various pro-inflammatory compounds including proteases, which when expressed at aberrant levels can overcome the endogenous antiprotease defence mechanisms of the lung. Unregulated, these proteases can exacerbate inflammation and result in the degradation of structural proteins and tissue damage leading to bronchiectasis and loss of respiratory function. Other host-derived and bacterial proteases may also contribute to the inflammation and lung destruction observed in the CF lung. Antiprotease strategies to dampen the excessive inflammatory response and concomitant damage to the airways remains an attractive therapeutic option for CF patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine