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 'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers
16.02.2018 | National University of Science and Technology MISIS

nachricht New process allows tailor-made malaria research
16.02.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

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: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Contacting the molecular world through graphene nanoribbons

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

When Proteins Shake Hands

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

Cells communicate in a dynamic code

19.02.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>