Mast cells have critical role in initializing pulmonary fibrosis

©2013 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

Pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic, deadly disease that affects five million people worldwide. It is irreversible, its cause is poorly understood, and it has a median survival of only about 3 years. A new study that implicates mast cells—an immune cell involved in allergic asthma—in the development of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis could lead to new, more effective therapies. The study is published in DNA and Cell Biology.

In the article "Mast Cells: A Pivotal Role in ," A. Veerappan and colleagues from Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, showed that in mice unable to produce mast cells, a chemical trigger known to cause pulmonary fibrosis does not result in disease. However, when the researchers introduced mast cells into the lungs of these mice, disease protection was reversed and the mice developed pulmonary fibrosis. The authors identify a role for two key compounds produced by mast cells—histamine and renin—and propose that they promote fibrogenesis when mast cells are activated early in the course of the disease.

Editor-in-Chief Carol Shoshkes Reiss, PhD, Departments of Biology and Neural Science, New York University, NY says, "Randi Silver's lab has shown, in this compelling paper, that mast cells contribute to the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis. These observations are important and may lead to the development of new therapeutic modalities to prevent deterioration of lung function."

More information: The article is available free on the DNA and Cell Biology website at http://www.liebertpub.com/dna.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scarred lungs leave trail of beta arrestins

Mar 28, 2011

Targeting a family of signaling proteins called beta arrestins may stop the life-threatening scarring and thickening of lungs associated with pulmonary fibrosis, reports a new Science study in mice.

Immune cell plays dual role in allergic skin disease

Oct 18, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- An immune cell involved in initiating the symptoms of an allergic skin reaction may play an equally, or perhaps more important, role in suppressing the reaction once it becomes chronic. This finding in ...

Pulmonary fibrosis: Between a ROCK and a hard place

Feb 22, 2013

Pulmonary fibrosis is a scarring or thickening of the lungs that causes shortness of breath, a dry cough, fatigue, chest discomfort, weight loss, a decrease in the ability of the lungs to transmit oxygen to the blood stream, ...

Researchers identify new cell that attacks dengue virus

May 16, 2011

Mast cells, which can help the body respond to bacteria and pathogens, also apparently sound the alarm around viruses delivered by a mosquito bite, according to researchers at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore.

Recommended for you

Gamers helping in Ebola research

11 hours ago

Months before the recent Ebola outbreak erupted in Western Africa, killing more than a thousand people, scientists at the University of Washington's Institute for Protein Design were looking for a way to stop the deadly virus.

Carcinogenic role of a protein in liver decoded

14 hours ago

The human protein EGFR controls cell growth. It has mutated in case of many cancer cells or exists in excessive numbers. For this reason it serves as a point of attack for target-oriented therapies. A study ...

A new way to diagnose malaria, using magnetic fields

Aug 31, 2014

Over the past several decades, malaria diagnosis has changed very little. After taking a blood sample from a patient, a technician smears the blood across a glass slide, stains it with a special dye, and ...

User comments