News

Thursday, 18. June 2009

Dry airways – are they a major factor in diseases of the respiratory tract?

A German-American research group used a transgenic mouse model to demonstrate that osmotic regulation disorders of the pulmonary epithelial cells bring about partial dehydration of the liquid film on the surface of the respiratory tract. Such dehydration of the respiratory tract was sufficient to trigger permanent changes in the lung's surface – changes resembling those that are typical of pulmonary diseases such as asthma asthma
Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory airway disease, characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction and bronchospasm.
, COPD and cystic fibrosis cystic fibrosis
Genetic disorder that affects most critically the lungs, leading to thick, viscous secretions.
.

A German-American research group used a transgenic mouse model to demonstrate that osmotic regulation disorders of the pulmonary epithelial cells bring about partial dehydration of the liquid film on the surface of the respiratory tract. Such dehydration of the respiratory tract was sufficient to trigger permanent changes in the lung's surface – changes resembling those that are typical of pulmonary diseases such as asthma asthma
Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory airway disease, characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction and bronchospasm.
, COPD and cystic fibrosis cystic fibrosis
Genetic disorder that affects most critically the lungs, leading to thick, viscous secretions.
.

In the case of cystic fibrosis cystic fibrosis
Genetic disorder that affects most critically the lungs, leading to thick, viscous secretions.
excessive dryness of the surface of the respiratory tract had already been identified as a key factor for development of the clinical picture. In this disease a defective gene disrupts ion exchange between the epithelium of the lung and its surface film. The scientists from Heidelberg, Michigan and North Carolina have now used mice with gene overexpression of the epithelial sodium channel to prove a direct link between this genetic defect, the formation of obstructive obstructive
Increased resistance in the airways that reduces the amount of air inhaled in each breath and the oxygen that reaches the pulmonary arteries
mucus and the development of inflammatory processes in the respiratory tract. The symptoms observed in these mice are not only typical of cystic fibrosis cystic fibrosis
Genetic disorder that affects most critically the lungs, leading to thick, viscous secretions.
but also of other pulmonary diseases such as asthma asthma
Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory airway disease, characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction and bronchospasm.
or COPD . From these results the authors conclude that serious chronic diseases of the respiratory tract can be caused merely by excessive dryness of the airway surfaces. They therefore see hydration of the lung's surface as a new therapy objective in order to restore its film of liquid.