Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

HATS off to combat asthma

05.12.2007
Two University of Nottingham studies exploring the causes and treatment of asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) could lead to the development of drugs to battle these debilitating conditions.

The Division of Respiratory Medicine at the University has been awarded a total of £1.24m in grants to study respiratory disease. The Wellcome Trust has awarded Prof Alan Knox and Dr Linhua Pang £700,000 to research transcriptional control of inflammatory gene expression in asthma — allowing the team to examine the part inflammatory mediators play in the way asthma sufferers react to allergens.

A second grant of £540,000 from MRC to Prof Knox and his colleagues Prof Peter Fischer and Prof David Heery will explore histone acetyl transferase (HAT) inhibitors in asthma and COPD. This study will investigate a bank of plant extracts at the University of Strathclyde, seeking compounds that could combat the intercellular processes that result in the symptoms of asthma and COPD — inflammation of the airways which can lead to coughing, breathlessness and increased chest infections.

Though they are different diseases, asthma and COPD affect the human body in a similar way. In asthma, allergens irritate the lungs, in COPD, this is done by cigarette smoke. This irritation inflames the sufferer’s airways, which the muscles then close, creating a narrowing effect.

Research done at the University over the past 15 years has found that the muscle layer in the airway is more complex than has traditionally been thought. As well as going into spasm during asthma and COPD attacks the muscle layer produces a wide range of mediators and cytokines — proteins that act as chemical signallers when it comes into contact with allergens or cigarette smoke. In asthma and COPD sufferers, these proteins are produced by stimulation of airway muscle cell walls in the lungs, releasing intracellular signalling proteins called ‘transcription factors’ which alter the DNA of the cell and activate messenger RNA. It is these ‘transcription factors’ which activate the inflammation by causing release of mediators and cytokines.

The activation status of these transcription factors is determined by the balance between two competing groups of enzymes called histone acetyl transferase (HATs) and histone deacetylases (HDACs). In asthma and COPD sufferers the balance is altered so that the HATs are activated and HDACs suppressed with the result that inflammation is switched on. The investigators at the University think that if the balance could be restored by inactivating HATs then the mediators and cytokines will be switched off and inflammation dampened down.

By exploring plant extracts that may reduce the activation of HATs within airway cells, the researchers may isolate compounds that could be used to suppress inflammation in respiratory disease. Any drug successfully synthesised from such compounds could potentially revolutionise the treatment of respiratory disease. There is also the potential to treat other inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Professor Alan Knox, of the Division of Respiratory Medicine at the University, said: “The majority of people with asthma have access to reasonably good anti-inflammatory treatments that can keep their conditions under control. But up to 20 per cent of sufferers don’t respond well to the treatments currently available. And when it comes to COPD, anti-inflammatory drugs aren’t very effective.

“By tracking the process which triggers the inflammation and then identifying the compounds that inhibit or activate these crucial enzymes, we could put into motion the development of a drug which could have a huge impact on the lives of those suffering from respiratory and other inflammatory diseases.”

Emma Thorne | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk

Further reports about: COPD HAT Respiratory Treatment compounds inflammation inflammatory sufferers

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences

nachricht Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

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

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>