A research team at Yale has found that blocking a kind of cell death called apoptosis in fibrotic diseases of the lung, also blocks the fibrosis, opening new ways of looking at treatment for lung diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis.
Published in the August 2 issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine, the study, led by Jack A. Elias, M.D., of Yale, examined how a molecule called TGF-beta causes apoptosis and abnormal scarring in the lungs.
Elias said there are a variety of human diseases where normal tissue is replaced with scar tissue that doesnt function the same way as the original tissue. This results in dysfunction of the skin or other involved organ. People can develop fibrosis of the skin, which leads to conditions like sclerodoma, where the skin thickens. When this occurs in the lungs, it is called pulmonary fibrosis. In pulmonary fibrosis, the normally thin lung tissue is replaced with thick, coarse scar tissue that impairs the flow of oxygen into the blood and leads to a loss of lung function.
Karen N. Peart | EurekAlert!
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