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      Severe eosinophilic asthma: from the pathogenic role of interleukin-5 to the therapeutic action of mepolizumab

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          Abstract

          Mepolizumab is an anti-interleukin-5 (IL-5) humanized monoclonal antibody that has been recently approved as an add-on biological treatment for severe eosinophilic asthma, by both the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Moreover, mepolizumab is also currently included within the step 5 of the Global Initiative for Asthma guidelines, as an add-on therapy for severe uncontrolled asthma. The relevant therapeutic benefits detectable in patients with refractory eosinophilic asthma receiving mepolizumab depend on the pivotal pathogenic role played by IL-5 in these subjects. Indeed, IL-5 is the key cytokine responsible for maturation, activation, proliferation, and survival of eosinophils. Therefore, IL-5 represents a strategic molecular target for anti-eosinophilic treatments. By selectively inhibiting the biological actions of IL-5, mepolizumab provides a valuable therapeutic option for patients with severe eosinophilic asthma, refractory to standard treatments including inhaled and even systemic corticosteroids. In particular, the very important advantages linked to the use of mepolizumab in these difficult-to-treat asthmatic individuals have been well documented by several different trials performed worldwide.

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          Most cited references 65

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          Mepolizumab for prednisone-dependent asthma with sputum eosinophilia.

          Eosinophilic inflammation, which may be a consequence of interleukin-5 action, is a characteristic feature of some forms of asthma. However, in three previous clinical trials involving patients with asthma, blockade of this cytokine did not result in a significant improvement in outcomes. We studied the prednisone-sparing effect of mepolizumab, a monoclonal antibody against interleukin-5, in a rare subgroup of patients who have sputum eosinophilia and airway symptoms despite continued treatment with prednisone. Secondary objectives were to examine its effect on the number of eosinophils in sputum and blood, symptoms, and airflow limitation. In this randomized, double-blind, parallel-group trial involving patients with persistent sputum eosinophilia and symptoms despite prednisone treatment, we assigned 9 patients to receive mepolizumab (administered in five monthly infusions of 750 mg each) and 11 patients to receive placebo. There were 12 asthma exacerbations in 10 patients who received placebo, 9 of whom had sputum eosinophilia at the time of exacerbation. In comparison, only one patient who received mepolizumab had an asthma exacerbation, and this episode was not associated with sputum eosinophilia (P=0.002). Patients who received mepolizumab were able to reduce their prednisone dose by a mean (+/-SD) of 83.8+/-33.4% of their maximum possible dose, as compared with 47.7+/-40.5% in the placebo group (P=0.04). The use of mepolizumab was associated with a significant decrease in the number of sputum and blood eosinophils. Improvements in eosinophil numbers, asthma control, and forced expiratory volume in 1 second were maintained for 8 weeks after the last infusion. There were no serious adverse events. Mepolizumab reduced the number of blood and sputum eosinophils and allowed prednisone sparing in patients who had asthma with sputum eosinophilia despite prednisone treatment. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00292877.) 2009 Massachusetts Medical Society
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            Eosinophilic inflammation in asthma.

            The importance of eosinophils in the pathogenesis of bronchial asthma is not established. In an attempt to evaluate the role of eosinophilic inflammation in asthma, we compared 10 normal subjects with 43 patients with chronic asthma, 19 of whom had severe disease as assessed by a clinical scoring method described by Aas and by pulmonary-function tests. Eosinophils were counted in peripheral blood and bronchoalveolar-lavage fluid, and in biopsy specimens obtained from the patients and post mortem from 8 subjects without asthma, but not from the 10 normal controls. Eosinophil cationic protein was titrated by radioimmunoassay in the bronchoalveolar-lavage fluid from all subjects and studied by immunohistochemistry in the biopsy specimens. There was a significant increase in the number of peripheral-blood eosinophils in the patients that was correlated with the clinical severity of asthma (P less than 0.001) and pulmonary function (P less than 0.03). Levels of eosinophils and eosinophil cationic protein were increased in the bronchoalveolar-lavage fluid from the patients and were also correlated with the severity of asthma (P less than 0.001 and P less than 0.002, respectively). Hematoxylin-eosin staining of bronchial-biopsy specimens showed that intraepithelial eosinophils were present only in patients with asthma. Immunohistochemical analysis of eosinophil cationic protein revealed that normal subjects had only a few nondegranulated eosinophils deep in the submucosa, whereas all the patients had degranulated eosinophils beneath the basement membrane and among epithelial cells. In some patients there was a relation between the presence of degranulated eosinophils and epithelial damage. Eosinophilic inflammation of the airways is correlated with the severity of asthma. These cells are likely to play a part in the epithelial damage seen in this disease.
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              Innate lymphoid cells--how did we miss them?

              Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are newly identified members of the lymphoid lineage that have emerging roles in mediating immune responses and in regulating tissue homeostasis and inflammation. Here, we review the developmental relationships between the various ILC lineages that have been identified to date and summarize their functions in protective immunity to infection and their pathological roles in allergic and autoimmune diseases.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                1177-8881
                2017
                30 October 2017
                : 11
                : 3137-3144
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Section of Respiratory Diseases, University “Magna Græcia” of Catanzaro, Catanzaro
                [2 ]Department of Medicine, Surgery and Dentistry, Section of Respiratory Diseases, University of Salerno, Salerno
                [3 ]Department of Health Science, University “Magna Græcia” of Catanzaro, Catanzaro, Italy
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Girolamo Pelaia, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Section of Respiratory Diseases, University “Magna Græcia” of Catanzaro, Campus Universitario “S. Venuta”, Viale Europa – Località Germaneto, 88100 Catanzaro, Italy, Tel +39 0961 364 7302, Fax +39 0961 364 7193, Email pelaia@ 123456unicz.it
                Article
                dddt-11-3137
                10.2147/DDDT.S150656
                5669784
                © 2017 Pelaia et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Categories
                Review

                Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical medicine

                mepolizumab, il-5, severe eosinophilic asthma

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