Reversing smoke-induced damage and disease in the lung
By studying mice exposed to tobacco smoke for a period of months, researchers have new insight into how emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) develops. In the October 14th issue of Cell they also report a promising new way to reverse the lung damage underlying these conditions.
"It has not been very clear what causes the disease and there has been no therapy to stop or reverse lung destruction in emphysema," said Norbert Weissman of the University of Giessen Lung Center in Germany. "There have really been no new concepts about therapy in the last 20 years."
It's not for lack of interest, he said. In fact, COPD, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is expected to become the third-greatest cause of death worldwide by the year 2020.
In addition to airway inflammation and decreased of respiratory function, COPD is often accompanied by pulmonary hypertension, which is essentiallyhigh blood pressure in the lungs. Whether this condition was a cause or a consequence of COPD was not known.
Now, with powerful mouse models of COPD, Weissman and colleagues provide evidence that changes to the pulmonary blood vessels and the development of high blood pressure precede the development of emphysema. They further trace those effects to an inducible form of an enzyme known as nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), which catalyzes the formation of nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide (NO) and the nitric oxide system are important for opening up blood vessels and maintaining vascular tone, Weissman said. When nitric oxide levels grow too high, however, the molecule can undergo a chemical reaction forming aggressive peroxynitrite.
"Simply put, peroxynitrite can modify protein functions, leading to the destruction of lung tissue," Weissman said.
It appears this is exactly what happens in the development of emphysema. Mice lacking the iNOS enzyme were protected from both emphysema and pulmonary hypertension. Importantly, existing pharmacological agents can block iNOS activity, and mice treated with one of these drugs were protected from COPD-like changes to their lung vasculature. Treatment with the inhibitor also successfully reversed the course of the disease in the mice.
"For reversal of emphysema, you need active restructuring of the lung," Weissman said, noting that there is more work to do to explore the pathways involved.
The iNOS inhibitor used in these studies has already been used in clinical trials with apparently no major side effects, Weissman says. He and his team plan to pursue use of the drug as an inhaled therapy, with the hope that it may reach therapeutic concentrations only where it is needed
Provided by Cell Press
- Protein could offer target to reduce lung damage from smoking-caused emphysema May 16, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- New potential to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Jan 27, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Controlling lung cancer in mice with milk thistle extract Feb 16, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Сomputed tomography shows changes in lungs associated with COPD flare-ups Jul 27, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- New test could identify smokers at risk of emphysema Apr 06, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Why is zone 1 in liver more prone to ischemic injury?
May 23, 2013 Hi, Is it because around central vein, there is only deoxygenated blood from the vein where as in the periphery there is hepatic artery. Also why...
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
May 22, 2013 As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
By discovering the new mechanism by which estrogen suppresses lipid synthesis in the liver, UC Irvine endocrinologists have revealed a potential new approach toward treating certain liver diseases.
Medical research May 23, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Aortic arch pulse wave velocity, a measure of arterial stiffness, is a strong independent predictor of disease of the vessels that supply blood to the brain, according to a new study published in the June issue the journal ...
Medical research May 23, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
Since the discovery of Prontosil in 1932, sulfonamide antibiotics have been used to combat a wide spectrum of bacterial infections, from acne to chlamydia and pneumonia. However, their side effects can include serious neurological ...
Medical research May 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health report they have discovered in mouse studies that a small molecule released in the spinal cord triggers a process that is later experienced in the brain as ...
Medical research May 23, 2013 | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Spanish researchers have discovered that the daily clearance of neutrophils from the body stimulates the release of hematopoietic stem cells from the bone marrow into the bloodstream, according to a report published today ...
Medical research May 23, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 0
Coenzyme Q10 decreases all cause mortality by half, according to the results of a multicentre randomised double blind trial presented today at Heart Failure 2013 congress. It is the first drug to improve heart failure mortality ...
17 hours ago | 5 / 5 (4) | 5
(HealthDay)—Animals make great companions for senior citizens, but elderly people who always drive with a pet in the car are far more likely to crash than those who never drive with a pet, researchers have ...
9 hours ago | not rated yet | 1
Heart failure accelerates the aging process and brings on early andropausal syndrome (AS), according to research presented today at the Heart Failure Congress 2013. AS, also referred to as male 'menopause', was four times ...
17 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 1
Mortality and length of stay are highest in heart failure patients admitted in January, on Friday, and overnight, according to research presented today at the Heart Failure Congress 2013. The analysis of nearly 1 million ...
17 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(AP)—Department of Justice lawyers have again asked a federal appeals court in New York to delay lifting age restrictions and prescription requirements on an emergency contraceptive popularly known as the morning-after ...
17 hours ago | not rated yet | 0