Research ArticleLung Disease

Selective Targeting of TGF-β Activation to Treat Fibroinflammatory Airway Disease

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Science Translational Medicine  18 Jun 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 241, pp. 241ra79
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3008074

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Breathing Freely

Narrowing of the airways through accumulation of scar tissue and inflammation results from chronic injury in common diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and severe chronic asthma. Such airway narrowing causes the obstruction responsible for the breathlessness that these patients experience, and there are no available treatments that ameliorate fibroinflammatory airway narrowing. In a new study, Minagawa et al. engineered a monoclonal antibody that locks in a specific inactive conformation of a protein named integrin αvβ8. This protein is a crucial receptor required for activation of transforming growth factor–β, a central mediator of pathological inflammation and fibrosis. This antibody, when administered to mice engineered to express only human and not mouse αvβ8, reduced airway inflammation and fibrosis in response to a variety of injurious agents including cigarette smoke and allergens that are involved in the pathogenesis of COPD.