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The potential of neutrophil elastase inhibitors as anti-inflammatory therapies

Henriksen, Peter A.

Current Opinion in Hematology: January 2014 - Volume 21 - Issue 1 - p 23–28
doi: 10.1097/MOH.0000000000000001
MYELOID BIOLOGY: Edited by David C. Dale

Purpose of review Therapeutic inhibition of neutrophil-derived elastases holds promise with powerful treatment effects observed in various preclinical models of lung, bowel and skin inflammation and ischaemia-reperfusion injury relevant to myocardial infarction, stroke and transplant medicine.

Recent findings This brief review considers recent studies eliciting the complex interaction between neutrophil-derived elastases and endogenous inhibitors that determines elastase-mediated inflammation in humans. Translating results of preclinical studies with neutrophil elastase inhibitors remains challenging. Future clinical studies will harness developments in drug delivery and utilize more specific markers of neutrophil elastase activity to inform on the efficacy of inhibition. A summary of recently published and ongoing clinical trials with synthetic inhibitors sivelestat and AZD9668 and recombinant elafin is provided.

Summary Clinical trials with neutrophil elastase inhibitors in lung and cardiovascular disease are ongoing, and future studies will incorporate novel delivery approaches and be directed by specific markers of neutrophil-derived elastase activity to target inhibition to the sites of inflammatory tissue injury.

Centre for Cardiovascular Science, University of Edinburgh and Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Correspondence to Dr Peter A. Henriksen, MB ChB, FRCP, PhD, Consultant Cardiologist, Honorary Senior Lecturer, University of Edinburgh, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, 47 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh, EH16 4TJ, UK. Tel: +44 131 242 1843; fax: +44 131 537 3070; e-mail:

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