It is now clear that NSPs (neutrophil serine proteases), including elastase, Pr3 (proteinase 3) and CatG (cathepsin G) are major pathogenic determinants in chronic inflammatory disorders of the lungs. Two unglycosylated natural protease inhibitors, SLPI (secretory leucocyte protease inhibitor) and elafin, and its precursor trappin-2 that are found in the lungs, have therapeutic potential for reducing the protease-induced inflammatory response. This review examines the multifaceted roles of SLPI and elafin/trappin-2 in the context of their possible use as inhaled drugs for treating chronic lung diseases such as CF (cystic fibrosis) and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

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