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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Pharmacotherapy of the ion transport defect in cystic fibrosis.

1. More than 1300 different mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) cause cystic fibrosis ( CF), a disease characterized by deficient epithelial Cl- secretion and enhanced Na+ absorption. The clinical course of the disease is determined by the progressive lung disease. Thus, novel approaches in pharmacotherapy are based primarily on correction of the ion transport defect in the airways. 2. The current therapeutic strategies try to counteract the deficiency in Cl- secretion and the enhanced Na+ absorption. A number of compounds have been identified, such as genistein and xanthine derivatives, which directly activate mutant CFTR. Other compounds may activate alternative Ca2+-activated Cl- channels or basolateral K+ channels, which supply the driving force for Cl- secretion. Apart from that, Na+ channel blockers, such as phenamil and benzamil, are being explored, which counteract the hyperabsorption of NaCl in CF airways. 3. Clinical trials are under way using purinergic compounds such as the P2Y(2) receptor agonist INS365. Activation of P2Y(2) receptors has been found to both activate Cl- secretion and inhibit Na+ absorption. 4. The ultimate goal is to recover Cl- channel activity of mutant CFTR by either enhancing synthesis and expression of the protein or by activating silent CFTR Cl- channels. Strategies combining these drugs with compounds facilitating Cl- secretion and inhibiting Na+ absorption in vivo may have the best chance to counteract the ion transport defect in cystic fibrosis.[1]


  1. Pharmacotherapy of the ion transport defect in cystic fibrosis. Kunzelmann, K., Mall, M. Clin. Exp. Pharmacol. Physiol. (2001) [Pubmed]
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