Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Possible pharmacological target(s) identified in pediatric OSA

Children with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may one day be able to have an injection or use a throat spray instead of getting their tonsils removed to cure their snoring, according to a new study from the University of Chicago, which found that a specific gene product may be responsible for the proliferation of adenotonsillar tissue that can cause pediatric OSA.

"We found that in the tonsil tissues of children with OSA, certain genes and gene networks were over expressed," said David Gozal, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics, who led the study.

"We believe that the results of this gene overexpression is increased proliferation of the adenotonsillar tissues, which in turn can cause partial or complete obstruction of the upper airways during sleep."

The findings have been published online ahead of print publication in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

In the United States, two to three percent of children have OSA. The current standard of treatment is surgical removal on the tonsils, but surgery is not without risks and potential complications. Currently, about 600,000 tonsillectomies are performed each year in children, primarily to treat OSA.

Dr. Gozal and colleagues have been studying potential non-surgical alternatives to treat OSA in children. To identify potential pharmacological targets, they recruited 18 children with OSA and 18 age-, gender-, and ethnicity-matched children with recurrent tonsillar infections (RI), all of who underwent surgery to have their tonsils removed.

The tonsil tissue from each subject was analyzed for relative expression of the 44,000 known genes in the human genome. The researchers then further analyzed the gene pathways to determine which changes may represent differences with a high likelihood of impact on cellular proliferation.

"We wanted to find the most important and functionally pertinent genes, those with the most connectivity," explained Dr. Gozal. "We identified 47 genes and among those, two specific genes, both phosphatases, which are known to be very important at regulating communication in cells. Then we looked at the expression of the phosphatase protein and found that children with OSA have higher level of phosphatases in the tonsils." In particular, they focused on one protein called phosphoserine phosphatase (PSPH) that was expressed in children with OSA, but almost never expressed in the children with RI.

"We asked, 'What happens if we block this phosphatase?'" said Dr. Gozal. "Is this a potential target for pharmacological therapy?" Indeed, they found that introducing calyculin, a phosphatase inhibitor, reduced the cell proliferation and increased programmed cell death, or apoptosis, a process by which cells self-regulate, in the tonsils of OSA patients. "Together, these observations suggest that PSPH is a logical therapeutic target in reversing adenotonsillar enlargement in pediatric OSA," Dr. Gozal wrote.

"The next direction is to identify if selective clones of proliferating cells that may be affected by PSPH or by another of the discovered target genes with the intent of developing a non-surgical alternative treatment to surgery for OSA in children," said Dr. Gozal. "If there is a subgroup of cells that have specific markers, then we may be able to develop a therapy that could be specifically targeted to these cells."

"Phosphatases such as PSPH are an exciting prospective target for therapy in children with OSA," said Dr. Gozal. "We believe if we had effective non-surgical alternatives to tonsillectomies, it would be of great benefit."

Keely Savoie | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht ‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie

nachricht Calcium Induces Chronic Lung Infections
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>