Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Protein could offer target to reduce lung damage from smoking-caused emphysema

An international research team has identified a lung protein that appears to play a key role in smoking-related emphysema and have crafted an antibody to block its activity, Indiana University scientists reported.

The research, conducted in mice, suggests that the protein, a cytokine named EMAPII, could provide a target for drugs to treat emphysema, said Irina Petrache, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine. The research was posted online May 16 for the June edition of The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Emphysema, a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that affects nearly 5 million people in the U.S alone, is caused by the destruction of cells that transfer oxygen from the lungs to the blood, along with inflammation in the lungs. Cigarette smoking is the most common cause of emphysema.

The cytokine EMAPII – a type of cell-signaling molecule – is normally part of the process of early lung development. Research had previously found that EMAPII could cause the death of cells that line blood vessels – endothelial cells – and inflammation, but it had not been identified as the molecular culprit at work when cigarette smoking inflicted its damage on the lungs.

"The fact that we could have a single target affecting two major processes made us excited about looking for it in response to smoking," said Dr. Petrache, the Floyd and Reba Smith Investigator in Respiratory Disease at IU.

When the researchers induced emphysema in mice exposed to cigarette smoke, tests showed the mice had elevated levels of the EMAPII cytokine. In other tests, the scientists also found elevated levels of the cytokine in the lungs of patients with COPD.

The researchers also found that the cell death caused by the EMAPII resulted in the release of enzymes that cause more production of EMAPII, causing a vicious cycle of elevated cytokine levels and more cell death.

Members of the research team, led by first author Matthias Clauss, Ph.D., IU associate research professor of cellular and integrative physiology, created an antibody designed to specifically target EMAPII and block its activity. The mice received an inhaled version of the antibody during their third month of smoking. They then were exposed to a fourth month of smoking without the treatment.

The mice receiving the treatment had significantly less cell death and inflammation and improved lung function compared to the smoking mice who did not receive the treatment. Moreover the benefits to the treated mice continued even after the treatment stopped.

Next steps include optimizing the duration of the antibody treatments to determine whether they continue to have an effect after the animals have stopped smoking, she said. Plans also call for work to measure levels of the cytokine in large numbers of human emphysema and COPD patients to determine whether it can be used as a biomarker to measure the presence, severity or type of lung disease.

Considerable research work remains before an EMAPII antibody might be ready for testing in humans, Dr. Petrache said.

Additional researchers on the project included Robert Voswinckel and Sandeep Nikam of the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim, Germany; Gangaraju Rajashekhar, Ninotchka L. Sigua, Natalia I. Rush, Kelly S. Schweitzer, Krzysztof Kamocki, Amanda J. Fisher, Yuan Gu, Bilal Safadi, Homer L. Twigg III and Robert G. Presson of the IU School of Medicine; Heinz Fehrenbach of the Leibniz Center for Medicine and Biosciences, Borstel, Germany; Ali Ö. Yildirim of the German Research Center for Environmental Health, Helmholtz Zentrum, Munich, Germany; Walter C. Hubbard of the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; Rubin M. Tuder of the University of Colorado Health Science Center, Denver; and Sanjay Sethi of New York University School of Medicine.

Funding for the research was provided by the National Institutes of Health, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the German Clusters of Excellence initiative and the European Commission.

Eric Schoch | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

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: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

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...

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

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>