Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Enzyme Prevents Lung Damage in Premature Infants

03.05.2004


An enzyme that protects the body from reactive chemicals called free radicals is crucial in preventing the inflammation that causes chronic lung disease in premature infants, according to three new studies.

The findings could lead to improved treatments to alleviate such inflammation, preserving the lungs of premature infants, said Richard Auten, M.D., a neonatalogist and associate professor of pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center. Auten and colleagues from the Medical College of Wisconsin reported their findings in three presentations on May 2 and 3, 2004, at the Pediatric Academic Societies’ annual meeting in San Francisco. The research was sponsored by the American Lung Association and the National Institutes of Health.

In studies with mice, the researchers previously found that infant animals with an extra copy of the gene for the crucial enzyme, called superoxide dismutase, were better able to defend themselves against oxygen-free radicals. Oxygen-free radicals are highly reactive forms of oxygen that can readily combine with and damage proteins and other molecules in body tissues such as the lungs. Superoxide dismutase reacts with oxygen-free radicals, converting them into harmless byproducts.



The free radicals that attack lung cells are produced by white blood cells enlisted by the infant’s immune system, and are not only a result of the oxygenated air breathed in by babies, according to experiments in lung cells conducted by Auten and his colleagues. This damage to lung cells can be partly prevented by turning on the gene which produces superoxide dismutase, the researchers found.

The fragile lungs of premature babies cannot take in enough air to support life, but supplemental oxygen or ventilation can damage delicate, underdeveloped lung tissue, causing inflammation and respiratory distress. Even exposure to normal room air may overwhelm the lungs of a premature infant, Auten said. The damage triggers the infant’s immune system, which sends in a horde of white blood cells that scavenger damaged tissue. But in premature infants, the white blood cells often stay in the lungs too long causing even more damage. The persistent inflammation also delays lung development and robs nutrients from other organs.

"We want to understand how to modify this immune response in a safe way that prevents inflammation but avoids infections and allow normal lung development," Auten said. The key to stopping such inflammation in infant lungs might be superoxide dismutase, he said.

The enzyme may also encourage lung development, Auten and his colleagues found. The transgenic mice with an extra copy of the superoxide dismutase gene had better blood vessel growth in their lungs than normal mice when exposed to a 95 percent oxygen environment for one week.

Inflammation caused by an overactive immune system is not the only source of lung problems for premature infants. Their lungs lack surfactant, a protein that lubricates the lung’s surface cells and help keep small air sacs, called alveoli, open and functioning. Most premature babies also have too few alveoli, which prevents their lungs from fully expanding and taking in enough air. Combined with the need for supplemental oxygen or ventilation, these factors lead to respiratory distress syndrome and chronic lung disease.

Currently, there is no good treatment to stop the cascade of injury in which inflammation meant to heal becomes a biochemical attack on the body’s own tissue. Steroids can alleviate the inflammation, but the drugs can slow brain and lung growth and impair immune function. The average hospital stay for infants who develop chronic lung disease -- stiff, scarred lungs -- is six months, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Auten’s co-authors include Mohamed Ahmed, M.D., fellow, Duke University School of Medicine; Ganesh Konduri, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin; Ann Lee, M.D., fellow, Medical College of Wisconsin; Neil Hogg, Ph.D., associate professor of biophysics, Medical College of Wisconsin; and Rose Verber, research technologist, Medical College of Wisconsin.

Becky Oskin | dukemed news
Further information:
http://dukemednews.org/news/article.php?id=7569
http://neonatology.mc.duke.edu/index.htm

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures
17.11.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht High speed video recording precisely measures blood cell velocity
15.11.2017 | ITMO 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: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Antarctic landscape insights keep ice loss forecasts on the radar

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Filling the gap: High-latitude volcanic eruptions also have global impact

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Water world

20.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>