Therapeutic targets in lung tissue remodelling and fibrosis

02 Jun 2021

Structural changes involving tissue remodelling and fibrosis are major features of many pulmonary diseases, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Abnormal deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins is a key factor in the development of tissue remodelling that results in symptoms and impaired lung function in these diseases. Tissue remodelling in the lungs is complex and differs between compartments. Some pathways are common but tissue remodelling around the airways and in the parenchyma have different morphologies. Hence it is critical to evaluate both common fibrotic pathways and those that are specific to different compartments; thereby expanding the understanding of the pathogenesis of fibrosis and remodelling in the airways and parenchyma in asthma, COPD and IPF with a view to developing therapeutic strategies for each. Here we review the current understanding of remodelling features and underlying mechanisms in these major respiratory diseases. The differences and similarities of remodelling are used to highlight potential common therapeutic targets and strategies. One central pathway in remodelling processes involves transforming growth factor (TGF)-_ induced fibroblast activation and myofibroblast differentiation that increases ECM production. The current treatments and clinical trials targeting remodelling are described, as well as potential future directions. These endeavours are indicative of the renewed effort and optimism for drug discovery targeting tissue remodelling and fibrosis.