Table of Contents
ISRN Pulmonology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 452307, 10 pages
Review Article

Controversies Surrounding the Potential Use of Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors for the Treatment of Asthma

1Allergy and Immune Disorders, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Parkville, VIC, Australia
2Department of Pathology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia
3Epigenomic Medicine, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, The Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Received 18 October 2011; Accepted 5 December 2011

Academic Editors: A. Altraja, K. Ito, and C. C. Witt

Copyright © 2012 Simon G. Royce et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Management of asthma with long-acting 𝛽 2 -adrenergic receptor agonists and corticosteroids is exceptionally effective for the majority of asthma patients. However, corticosteroid insensitivity or resistance remains a significant clinical problem for a significant proportion of patients, requiring the investigation of new potential therapeutics for asthma. Histone deacetylase inhibitors represent a different class of compounds that have been evaluated for their potential antiasthmatic effects. Although accumulating evidence is indicating beneficial effects in rodent models of allergic airways disease, the potential use of histone deacetylase inhibitors in asthma remains controversial given their mechanisms of action. The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of histone deacetylases and pharmacological modifiers of these enzymes. The discussion represents a balanced account of the emerging evidence indicating the beneficial effects of histone deacetylase inhibitors in inflammatory lung diseases. The potential problems associated with the use of this class of compounds in asthma are also carefully considered.