Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cigarette smoke curbs lung's self-healing

02.03.2017

Smoke from cigarettes blocks self-healing processes in the lungs and consequently can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, partner in the German Center for Lung Research (DZL), and their international colleagues have reported this in the ‘American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine’.

Cough, bronchitis and breathing difficulties – these are the typical manifestations of COPD. Exact figures are not available, but estimates assume that ten to twelve percent of the adults over 40 years of age in Germany suffer from the disease. Experts estimate the national economic costs of the disease at almost six billion euros annually.* Scientists around the world are attempting to discover how the disease develops and what biological adjustments can be made to stop it.


Helmholtz scientists were able to elucidate a mechanism leading to degeneration (right) of formerly healthy lung tissue (left).

Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München

One approach involves the lung's natural self-healing, which no longer takes place in COPD. “In healthy patients, the so-called WNT/beta-catenin signaling pathway is responsible for the lung's homeostasis.

Until now, it was not clear why it was silenced in patients with COPD,” explains Dr. Dr. Melanie Königshoff, head of the Lung Repair and Regeneration (LRR) Research Unit of the Comprehensive Pneumology Center (CPC) at Helmholtz Zentrum München. She and her team spent the last few years tackling this question in the framework of an ERC Starting Grant and discovered that one of the Frizzled molecules– Frizzled 4 –plays an important role.

“Frizzled 4 is a receptor molecule that sits on the surface of lung cells, where it regulates their self-renewal via WNT/beta-catenin,” explains first author Wioletta Skronska-Wasek, doctoral candidate at the LRR. "However if the cells are exposed to cigarette smoke, Frizzled 4 disappears from the surface and cell growth comes to a halt.”

Successful reversal in cell culture

The starting point for the current study was the team's observation that in the lung tissue of COPD patients, and especially that of smokers, there were significantly fewer Frizzled 4 receptors than in non-smokers. “In the next step, we were able to prove in cell culture and model systems that inhibition of Frizzled 4 signaling on the cells led to decreased WNT/beta-catenin activity and consequently to reduced wound healing and repair capacity,” described Dr. Ali Önder Yildirim, an expert on the effects of cigarette smoke in the lung.

He is a group leader at the Institute of Lung Biology of the CPC at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and also participated in the study. The authors additionally recognized that without the receptor, there was a loss of certain proteins that are important for the structure of lung tissue (including elastin, fibulin and IGF1) and the lung’s elasticity, allowing patients to breathe.

To confirm their results, the scientists artificially increased Frizzled 4 levels in a cell culture test to stimulate its production. The increase in Frizzled 4 reactivated the blocked repair process and led to the production of many of the previously reduced proteins. “The activation of the Frizzled 4 receptor can restore the WNT/beta-catenin signaling pathway and consequently lead to repair in the lung,” explains Melanie Königshoff. This is an exciting starting point for further research which might develop new therapies for COPD patients.**

Further Information

* Source: http://www.lungeninformationsdienst.de

** Melanie Königshoff's research unit is a part of the German Center for Lung Research (DZL). Since the end of last year, she is also been setting up a new laboratory at the University of Colorado, Denver, where she will further expand her research program on lung regeneration.

Background:
The name "Frizzled" stems from its discovery in genetically modified fruit flies: animals that lacked Frizzled showed a hair malposition, so that it looked “frizzled”. Just recently, Melanie Königshoff and her team were able to elucidate another mechanism that prevents the lungs in COPD patients from healing themselves. https://www.helmholtz-muenchen.de/en/press-media/press-releases/all-press-releas... The WNT/beta-catenin pathway is also defective in this case. Investigations by the Königshoff team also show the key role that this signal chain has in the lung, where it also plays a role in pulmonary fibrosis. https://www.helmholtz-muenchen.de/en/press-media/press-releases/2016/press-relea...

Original Publication:
Skronska-Wasek, W. et al. (2017): Reduced Frizzled receptor 4 expression prevents WNT/β-catenin-driven alveolar lung repair in COPD. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, doi: 10.1164/rccm.201605-0904OC
http://www.atsjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1164/rccm.201605-0904OC

The Helmholtz Zentrum München, the German Research Center for Environmental Health, pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The Helmholtz Zentrum München is headquartered in Neuherberg in the north of Munich and has about 2,300 staff members. It is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 18 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 37,000 staff members. http://www.helmholtz-muenchen.de/en

The Lung Repair and Regeneration Research Unit is part of the Comprehensive Pneumology Center (CPC), which is a joint undertaking of the Helmholtz Zentrum München, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich with its University Hospital, and the Asklepios Specialist Clinics Munich-Gauting. The CPC's objective is to conduct research on chronic lung diseases in order to develop new diagnostic tools and therapies. The LRR Research Unit examines new mechanisms and repair processes in the lungs for a better understanding that will allow the development of new therapeutic approaches. The unit also focuses on developing new methods in order to reduce the gap between pre-clinical research and its application on patients. The CPC is a facility of the German Center for Lung Research (Deutsches Zentrum für Lungenforschung - DZL). http://www.helmholtz-muenchen.de/lrr

The German Center for Lung Research (DZL) pools German expertise in the field of pulmonology research and clinical pulmonology. The association’s head office is in Giessen. The aim of the DZL is to find answers to open questions in research into lung diseases by adopting an innovative, integrated approach and thus to make a sizeable contribution to improving the prevention, diagnosis and individualized treatment of lung disease and to ensure optimum patient care. http://www.dzl.de

Contact for the media:
Department of Communication, Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg - Tel. +49 89 3187 2238 - Fax: +49 89 3187 3324 - E-mail: presse@helmholtz-muenchen.de

Scientific contact:
Dr. Dr. Melanie Königshoff, Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health, Comprehensive Pneumology Center, Max-Lebsche-Platz 31, 81377 München, Germany - Tel. +49 89 3187 4668 - E-mail: melanie.koenigshoff@helmholtz-muenchen.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.helmholtz-muenchen.de/en/press-media/press-releases/all-press-releases/index.html - more news of Helmholtz Zentrum München

Sonja Opitz | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Further information:
http://www.helmholtz-muenchen.de

Further reports about: COPD Environmental Health Helmholtz beta-catenin lung lung diseases self-healing

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht GLUT5 fluorescent probe fingerprints cancer cells
20.04.2018 | Michigan Technological University

nachricht Scientists re-create brain neurons to study obesity and personalize treatment
20.04.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Structured light and nanomaterials open new ways to tailor light at the nanoscale

23.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

On the shape of the 'petal' for the dissipation curve

23.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Clean and Efficient – Fraunhofer ISE Presents Hydrogen Technologies at the HANNOVER MESSE 2018

23.04.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>