A team of researchers from the Universities of Leeds and California, San Diego, studying a protein called VEGF have found that doxycyline - used to treat common ailments such as acne, sinusitis and urinary tract infections – also boosts the body’s ability to protect against damage to the lungs.
VEGF helps to maintain healthy lung tissue and emphysema sufferers are found to have unusually low levels of the protein. Dr Harry Rossiter from Leeds’ Faculty of Biological Sciences explains: “In healthy people, the lungs have an active restorative system keeping them healthy, but in some lung diseases, the body’s natural protective processes are inhibited, partly as a result of low levels of the VEGF protein.”
In experiments, Dr Rossiter and his US colleagues reduced the levels of VEGF in the lungs of mice whilst simultaneously administering doxycycline. The researchers found that lung damage was minimal in these mice, compared with the control group which was not treated with the drug.
Ellen C Breen PhD from the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego says: “The images that we have of the lungs of mice that have been treated with doxycycline are startlingly different to those that we didn’t treat. VEGF-deficient lungs show vast pockets of tissue damage when untreated and greatly reduced damage when treated with doxycycline.”
The next step for research team is to try similar experiments with different drugs, with a view to trying to find one that will help the body rebuild lung tissue that has already died.
Dr Breen stresses that whilst the experiments show that doxycycline clearly has a role to play in preventing lung tissue damage, it is too early to say whether these findings would have a preventative role for humans with a genetic predisposition to lung disease.
“It’s also important to remember that we were treating the mice with the drug whilst inducing the symptoms of lung disease, so this is by no means a cure,” she says.
This research was funded by the Worldwide Universities Network and the US based Tobacco Related Disease Research Program and the findings are published in the current issue of the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry.
1. Doxycycline treatment prevents alveolar destruction in VEGF-deficient mouse lung is at http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/117877627/abstract . A copy of the paper is available on request.
2.Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (lung disease) is the fifth most common cause of death in the UK, according to the Medical Research Council. These diseases include emphysema and bronchitis and are characterised by a narrowing of the airways, caused by the death of lung tissue. Lung disease kills more than 27,000 people a year in the UK alone and around 85 per cent of these deaths are caused by smoking.
3. Dr Harry Rossiter is a lecturer in exercise physiology in the University of Leeds’ Faculty of Biological Sciences.
4. The Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds is one of the largest in the UK, with over150 academic staff and over 400 postdoctoral fellows and postgraduate students. The Faculty has been awarded research grants totalling some £60M and funders include charities, research councils, the European Union and industry. Each of the major units in the Faculty has the highest Grade 5 rated research according to the last government (HEFCE) Research Assessment Exercise, denoting research of international standing. The Faculty is also consistently within the top three for funding from the government’s research councils, the BBSRC and NERC. www.fbs.leeds.ac.uk
5. The University of Leeds is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK with more than 30,000 students from 130 countries. With a turnover approaching £450m, Leeds is one of the top ten research universities in the UK, and a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. It was placed 80th in the 2007 Times Higher Education world universities league table. The University's vision is to secure a place among the world's top 50 by 2015.
6. The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) is one of the ten campuses in the world-renowned University of California system – one of the top institutions in the nation for higher education and research. UCSD Health Sciences comprises the School of Medicine, the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences,and the UCSD Medical Center, with more than 900 faculty physicians and scientists, 7,500 staff members, more than 600 medical and pharmacy students, and a health system including two hospitals and a cancer center that care for approximately 125,000 patients annually. The UCSD School of Medicine is ranked 5th in the nation among public medical schools and 14th overall by U.S. News and World Report (2006).
7. The Tobacco Related Disease Research Program supports research that focuses on the prevention, causes and treatment of tobacco related disease and the reduction of the human and economic costs of tobacco use in California. Its goals are to fund excellent research that addresses all aspects of tobacco use, to widely disseminate the research findings through a range of media, to encourage and support new scientific infrastructures and networks critical for a comprehensive approach to tobacco control and to serve as an information resource for those interested in issues of tobacco control. http://www.trdrp.org
8. The Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) is a partnership of 16 research-led universities from Europe, North America, South East Asia and Australia. The WUN alliance exists to make significant advances in knowledge and understanding in areas of current global concern. By fostering and encouraging collaboration between members, WUN brings together the experience, equipment and expertise necessary to tackle the big issues currently facing societies, governments, corporations and education. http://www.wun.ac.uk
Jo Kelly | alfa
Improving memory with magnets
28.03.2017 | McGill University
Graphene-based neural probes probe brain activity in high resolution
28.03.2017 | Graphene Flagship
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
28.03.2017 | Life Sciences
28.03.2017 | Information Technology
28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy