More than 12 million Americans are currently diagnosed with this incurable illness, which is the fourth leading cause of death, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute reports. In the United States, the term COPD includes two main conditions - emphysema and chronic obstructive bronchitis.
The researchers were able to prevent COPD features in a mouse model by genetically removing osteopontin. To gauge the applicability of their findings to humans, the investigators analyzed the airways of people with COPD and found elevated levels of the protein.
"This is an important crossover study," said Michael Blackburn, Ph.D., the study's senior author and professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. "Because we can show osteopontin is elevated in people with COPD, this suggests that osteopontin could serve as both an indicator of disease progression and a therapeutic target."
In the study, researchers induced COPD features in mice and then compared symptoms experienced by mice with osteopontin and those without. The mice without the protein had less inflammation and lung disease. "The lack of osteopontin in the mice prevented the COPD features," said Daniel Schneider, the study's lead author and an M.D./Ph.D. candidate at the UT Health Science Center at Houston.
"This paper reveals exciting new information on the pathogenetic mechanisms involved in the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema," said Richard J. Castriotta, M.D., professor and director of the Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine Division at the UT Medical School at Houston and medical director of the Sleep Disorder Center at Memorial Hermann - Texas Medical Center.
The study stems from research in Blackburn's laboratory involving a signaling molecule named adenosine, which can orchestrate the process of inflammation in wound healing. Adenosine can also activate a cell surface receptor associated with COPD named A2B and produce osteopontin.
Blackburn's decade-long research has focused on blocking the A2B receptor. With the new study linking osteopontin to COPD, Blackburn believes his laboratory may have uncovered a protein that could lead to a more targeted approach to treating emphysema.
"As a physician scientist, one goal of drug development is to offer more specific drug targets to treat the disorder and osteopontin provides a specific target that may be associated with fewer side effects," Schneider said.
"This paper adds a new element, osteopontin, to the mix by discovering its significant role in the development of COPD with emphysema ... It's still too early to be used clinically, but there may be a place for osteopontin in the future as an indicator of lung disease in progress that leads to COPD and emphysema," Castriotta said.
Blackburn is director of the Graduate Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the UT Medical School.
Schneider is a graduate research assistant at The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston and is a recipient of a T32 training grant by the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences at the UT Health Science Center at Houston.
The study is titled "Adenosine and osteopontin contribute to the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease." Other contributors from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology were graduate students Janci C. Lindsay and Yang Zhou, as well as senior research assistant Jose G. Molina.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Research Resources.Rob Cahill
Robert Cahill | EurekAlert!
Further reports about: > A2B > Biochemistry > Biomedical Science > COPD > Medical Wellness > Molecular Biology > Molecular Target > Science TV > adenosine > chronic obstructive pulmonary disease > genetic mechanism > health services > obstructive pulmonary disease > pulmonary disease > sleep > synthetic biology
Polymers Based on Boron?
18.01.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production
18.01.2018 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
18.01.2018 | Life Sciences
18.01.2018 | Life Sciences
18.01.2018 | Earth Sciences