Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research breakthrough identifies 291 genes associated with asthma

16.06.2003


Pathway identified to target for drug development



In one of the most significant breakthroughs in allergic diseases research in recent years, an international group of scientists led by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have discovered 291 genes associated with asthma. The Cincinnati Children’s scientists used gene chip analysis to identify these genes they refer to as "asthma signature genes," and they discovered a new and promising pathway involving one particular gene, arginase, to target for drug development.
Prior to this study, which is published in the July issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, scientists thought that only a dozen or so genes were implicated in asthma. The discovery that asthma involves the interplay of 291 genes "has tremendous therapeutic and diagnostic implications," says Marc Rothenberg, MD, PhD, director of Allergy and Immunology at Cincinnati Children’s and the study’s senior author.

"Each gene may represent a target for drug development," says Dr. Rothenberg. "But one gene in particular, arginase, regulates pathways that we think are critical in an asthmatic reaction. Regardless of the specific allergen, arginase seems to be involved. We hope to come up with a treatment for asthma by targeting arginase."



The study, which involved scientists in the United States, Canada and Australia, capitalized on both the human and mouse genome projects. Dr. Rothenberg and lead authors Nives Zimmermann, MD, and Nina King, MD, PhD, took lung tissue from mice with experimental models of asthma induced by different allergens. After analyzing the tissue with DNA microarrays, also known as gene chips, they discovered that the expression of 6.5 percent of the mouse genome was altered in an asthmatic lung.

"The identification of a series of asthma signature genes provides an unprecedented opportunity to fully understand the exact processes involved in asthma and other allergic diseases," says Dr. Rothenberg. "These results are significant because they present a completely new approach to treating and diagnosing asthma."

The Cincinnati Children’s researchers identified multiple new pathways involved in asthma. One such process involved the cellular machinery that processes arginine -- an amino acid normally consumed in the diet. Once processed in the body, arginine can be used to synthesize critical molecules such as growth factors, connective tissue proteins and nitric oxide.

In particular, the arginine transporter (the protein that carries it across the cell membrane) and the enzymes that act on it, arginase I and arginase II, were found to play an important role. The researchers found that the breakdown of arginine is shifted away from its normal pathway during asthma due to production of arginase. The researchers then compared these mouse DNA results to samples of asthmatic lung tissue taken from humans and showed that the arginase pathway was important in human disease.

"Because arginase is upstream in regulating pathways that are critical in allergic reactions, blocking the arginase pathway may benefit patients regardless of which gene is implicated in their asthma," says Dr. Zimmermann.

"With the publishing of these results, the asthma signature genes will now become available to the public over the worldwide web," adds Dr. Rothenberg. "It’s our hope that the release of these results will fuel the pharmaceutical industry, as well as other researchers, to take new approaches in asthma research," he says.

In recent years, the incidence of asthma and allergies has sky-rocketed for unclear reasons. More than 17 million Americans are currently estimated to have asthma, and more than 70 percent of people with asthma also suffer from allergies. Asthma affects more than 4.8 million children and adolescents under the age of 18. Asthma rates in children under the age of five increased more than 160 percent from 1980-1994.


Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is a 373-bed institution dedicated to the pursuit of perfect health care. It is the only pediatric organization in the United States to receive the prestigious Pursuing Perfection grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation ranks third nationally among all pediatric centers in research grants from the National Institutes of Health. The Cincinnati Children’s vision is to be the leader in improving child health, through patient care, research and education. Additional information about Cincinnati Children’s can be found at www.cincinnatichildrens.org.

Additional Contact:
Amy Caruso, 513-636-5637

Jim Feuer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope
23.10.2017 | University at Buffalo

nachricht Scientists track ovarian cancers to site of origin: Fallopian tubes
23.10.2017 | Johns Hopkins Medicine

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: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Shrews shrink in winter and regrow in spring

24.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>