Kallikrein-related peptidases in lung diseases

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Human tissue kallikreins (KLKs) are 15 members of the serine protease family and are present in various healthy human tissues including airway tissues. Multiple studies have revealed their crucial role in the pathophysiology of a number of chronic, infectious and tumour lung diseases. KLK1, 3 and 14 are involved in asthma pathogenesis, and KLK1 could be also associated with the exacerbation of this inflammatory disease caused by rhinovirus. KLK5 was demonstrated as an influenza virus activating protease in humans, and KLK1 and 12 could also be involved in the activation and spread of these viruses. KLKs are associated with lung cancer, with up- or downregulation of expression depending on the KLK, cancer subtype, stage of tumour and also the microenvironment. Functional studies showed that KLK12 is a potent pro-angiogenic factor. Moreover, KLK6 promotes malignant-cell proliferation and KLK13 invasiveness. In contrast, KLK8 and KLK10 reduce proliferation and invasion of malignant cells. Considering the involvement of KLKs in various physiological and pathological processes, KLKs appear to be potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets for lung diseases.

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