Inflammation, ageing and diseases of the lung: Potential therapeutic strategies from shared biological pathways

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Abstract

Lung diseases disproportionately affect elderly individuals. The lungs form a unique environment: a highly elastic organ with gaseous exchange requiring the closest proximity of inhaled air containing harmful agents and the circulating blood. The lungs are highly susceptible to senescence, with age and ‘inflammageing’ creating a pro-inflammatory environment with a reduced capacity to deal with challenges. While lung diseases may have disparate causes, the burden of ageing and inflammation provides a common process that can exacerbate seemingly unrelated pathologies. However, these shared pathways may also provide a common route to treatment, with increased interest in drugs that target ageing processes across respiratory diseases. In this review, we will examine the evidence for the increased burden of lung disease in older adults, the structural and functional changes seen with advancing age and assess what our expanding knowledge of inflammation and ageing pathways could mean for the treatment of lung disease.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Early online date26 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Nov 2021

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