Inflammation in COPD: Implications for management

Sanjay Sethi, Donald A. Mahler, Philip Marcus, Caroline A. Owen, Barbara Yawn, Stephen Rennard

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is recognized by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease guidelines as an inflammatory disease state, and treatment rationales are provided accordingly. However, not all physicians follow or are even aware of these guidelines. Research has shown that COPD inflammation involves multiple inflammatory cells and mediators and the underlying pathology differs from asthma inflammation. For these reasons, therapeutic agents that are effective in asthma patients may not be optimal in COPD patients. COPD exacerbations are intensified inflammatory events compared with stable COPD. The clinical and systemic consequences believed to result from the chronic inflammation observed in COPD suggest that inflammation intensity is a key factor in COPD and exacerbation severity and frequency. Although inhaled corticosteroids are commonly used and are essential in asthma management, their efficacy in COPD is limited, with only a modest effect at reducing exacerbations. The importance of inflammation in COPD needs to be better understood by clinicians, and the differences in inflammation in COPD versus asthma should be considered carefully to optimize the use of anti-inflammatory agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1162-1170
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Anti-inflammatory
  • COPD
  • Exacerbation
  • Inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Inflammation in COPD: Implications for management'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this