Targeting peripheral afferent nerve terminals for cough and dyspnea

Yukiko Muroi, Bradley J. Undem

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Chronic unproductive coughing and dyspnea are symptoms that severely diminish the quality of life in a substantial proportion of the population. There are presently few if any drugs that effectively treat these symptoms. Rational drug targets for cough and dyspnea have emerged over the recent years based on developments in our understanding of the innervation of the respiratory tract. These drug targets can be subcategorized into those that target the vagal afferent nerve endings, and those that target neural activity within the CNS. This review focuses on targets presumed to be in the peripheral terminals of afferent nerves within the airways. Conceptually, the activity of peripheral afferent nerves involved with unwanted urge-to-cough or dyspnea sensations can be inhibited by limiting the intensity of the stimulus, inhibiting the amplitude of the stimulus-induced generator potential, or inhibiting the transduction between the generator potential and action potential discharge and conduction. These mechanisms reveal many therapeutic strategies for anti-tussive and anti-dyspnea drug development with peripheral sites of action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-264
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Opinion in Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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