30 August 2010

Potential Cause of Asthma-Like Symptoms Spotted in Mice

Findings may lead to new treatments for people with severe forms of the airway disorder, researchers say


This article has not necessarily been edited by Health24.

SUNDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- A possible genetic basis for severe asthma has been identified by researchers, and although the findings are based on a study in mice, the discovery may someday help people.

Asthma rates have been increasing in recent years. In susceptible people, the disease can be triggered by a number of environmental factors, including cigarette smoke, allergens and air pollution, senior investigator Marsha Wills-Karp, director of the division of immunobiology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, noted in a hospital news release.

In their study, the researchers found that an inflammation-causing protein called interleukin-17 (IL-17A) is the major cause of severe asthma-like symptoms in mice. The animals used in the study had been bred to have a genetic resemblance to humans with severe susceptibility to asthma.

The finding "suggests that at some point it may be possible to treat or prevent severe forms of asthma by inhibiting pathways that drive the production of IL-17A," Wills-Karp said in the news release.

Scientists typically caution, however, that many discoveries in animal models do not translate into therapies for humans.

The study findings are published in the Aug. 29 issue of the journal Nature Immunology.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about asthma.

(Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Asthma Expert

Professor Keertan Dheda has received of several prestigious awards including the 2014 Oppenheimer Award, and has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers and holds 3 patents related to new TB diagnostic or infection control technologies. He serves on the editorial board of the journals PLoS One, the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Medicine, Lancet Respiratory Diseases and Nature Scientific Reports, amongst others.Read his full biography at the University of Cape Town Lung Institute

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules