June: Asthma in Research

Check out what’s new in asthma research internationally this month! Here are some of the highlights:

A New Approach to Inhibiting Asthma Pathways

A read for the more physiologically-minded, this study published in Northern Ireland this month investigated mucus hypersecretion (an overproduction of mucus in bronchial air-liquid pathways) in children with asthma. This mechanism, which is the main cause of asthma-related fatalities, is not well understood, and there is no known therapy targeting this specific physiology. They found that the epidermal growth factor, or EGF, is a viable therapeutic target for reducing excess mucus secretion. The removal of this growth factor reduced the production of goblet cells in this region and, in turn, also reduced mucus secretion. Current asthma treatments don’t address this specific mechanism, but with a growing body of research to support its potential, the results create a meaningful subject of inquiry moving forward.

You can read the full text here: Epidermal Growth Factor Removal or Tyrphostin AG1478 Treatment Reduces Goblet Cells & Mucus Secretion of Epithelial Cells from Asthmatic Children Using the Air-Liquid Interface Model.

Ozone and Immune Response to Airway Inflammation

Research teams in the US and France collaborated to publish a study this month on the effect of ozone inhalation on airway inflammation. We inhale ozone particles in our everyday life, especially in urban environments. For asthmatics and people with other pulmonary conditions, these particles inhaled as a result of air pollution could contribute to act as a trigger for airway-restricting symptoms. This study found that inhalation of medium to high levels of ambient ozone significantly restricted lung function, especially in asthmatic patients, working on several biological pathways for inflammation. While this pathway has been extensively studied, their focus on immunological repair of this induced stress provides a unique perspective.

Find the full text here: Inflammatory and Repair Pathways Induced in Human Bronchoalveolar Lavage Cells with Ozone Inhalation

An Analysis of Pet Ownership and Lung Function

This study from the United Kingdom published this month analyzed the effect of pet ownership on asthma. They looked at whether pet ownership during pregnancy and early childhood had an effect on lung function and wheezing in children up to eight years of age. The results remain largely speculative, but they saw a decrease of wheezing and no reduced lung function with cat ownership, and an increased risk of those symptoms with rodent and rabbit ownership, both most influential in infancy. Susceptible to both genetic and environmental factors, the connection between childhood asthma and pet ownership remains an area of interest. This study in particular investigates a wide range of pets including birds and dogs, but the causal relationship of pet ownership to “wheeze-related disease” specifically has yet to be proven.

Here’s the full text: Associations of Pet Ownership with Wheezing and Lung Function in Childhood: Findings from a UK Birth Cohort

Come across an interesting asthma-related paper or article? Leave us the link in the comments or tweet at us @asthmainstitute! We’d love to see what you’re reading!

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