Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator: Roles in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Academic Article


  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) manifests with a variety of clinical presentations, reflecting its complex pathology. Currently, care focuses on symptom amelioration and prevention of complications and thus is generally tailored to disease severity rather than targeting specific pathophysiologic mechanisms. Chronic inflammation and mucus hypersecretion are key features of COPD. Epithelial ion channel dysfunction may be important, as it results in airway dehydration and defective host defense, contributing to chronic airway inflammation. Recent evidence suggests considerable similarities between COPD and cystic fibrosis (CF), a disease in which chloride ion channel dysfunction has been extensively studied (in particular CFTR [CF transmembrane conductance regulator]). Understanding commonalities between CF and COPD, and the role of CFTR in CF, may help in designing strategies targeting ion channel dysfunction and lead to new treatments with potential to alter the natural history of disease progression. Here, we review the roles of airway mucus and CFTR in normal lung function, the previously underestimated contribution of mucus stasis to the development of COPD, and the evidence for targeting CFTR to counteract mucus accumulation.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Dransfield M; Rowe S; Vogelmeier CF; Wedzicha J; Criner GJ; Han MLK; Martinez FJ; Calverley P
  • Start Page

  • 631
  • End Page

  • 640
  • Volume

  • 205
  • Issue

  • 6