Bennett Shum and colleagues have found that a fatty acid binding protein called aP2, which is already known for its role in diabetes and obesity, is also present in the lung where it is crucial in controlling inflammation in asthma.
About one in ten adults and one in six children in Australia now suffer from asthma. Its incidence in Western countries increased markedly over the last 20 years and has purportedly been linked to the rise in obesity.
"There's up to three times the risk of being asthmatic if you are obese: the more obese, the greater the risk. We know that obese asthmatics who lose weight have large improvements in their asthma," says asthma project leader Dr Michael Rolph.
Various triggers such as dust mites and pollen bring on asthma attacks, which are characterized by inflammation of the airways, a tightening of the surrounding muscles, and excess mucus production.
The scientists used a technique called gene profiling to discover novel genes that regulate airway inflammation and found very high levels of aP2 in human lung cells that had been tricked into thinking they were undergoing an asthma attack.
"We were really surprised to find aP2 in the lung", said Shum. "So, we then looked at what would happen when we removed this gene in mouse models: mice without aP2 are protected from asthma attacks".
"These findings suggest that blocking aP2 function is a novel approach for asthma treatment and other inflammatory lung diseases," he added.
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16.08.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
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For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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