Targeting leukocyte integrins in human diseases

  • Yonekawa K
  • Harlan J
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As our understanding of integrins as multifunctional adhesion and signaling molecules has grown, so has their recognition as potential therapeutic targets in human diseases. Leukocyte integrins are of particular interest in this regard, as they are key molecules in immune-mediated and inflammatory processes and are thus critically involved in diverse clinical disorders, ranging from asthma to atherosclerosis. Antagonists that interfere with integrin-dependent leukocyte trafficking and/or post-trafficking events have shown efficacy in multiple preclinical models, but these have not always predicted success in subsequent clinical trials (e.g., ischemia-reperfusion disorders and transplantation). However, recent successes of integrin antagonists in psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, and multiple sclerosis demonstrate the tremendous potential of antiadhesion therapy directed at leukocyte integrins. This article will review the role of the leukocyte integrins in the inflammatory process, approaches to targeting leukocyte integrins and their ligands, and the results of completed clinical trials.

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  • Karyn Yonekawa

  • John M. Harlan

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