Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cystic fibrosis alters the structure of mucus in airways

29.06.2017

U. Iowa study may help explain mucus clearance problems for patients with CF

Mucus is important for maintaining healthy lungs. Inhaled particles, including bacteria and viruses, get trapped in mucus and then cilia -- tiny hair like projections on the surface of the airway cells -- sweep the mucus out of the airway.


The image shows mucus in pig airway affected by cystic fibrosis (CF). The red strands of mucus (made of MUC5B protein) are more tangled than normal, and the green sheets of mucus (made of MUC5AC protein) are denser. These structural abnormalities may help explain why people with CF have difficulty clearing mucus from their lungs.

Credit: University of Iowa Pappajohn Biomedical Institute

In lungs affected by cystic fibrosis (CF), the mucus is abnormal and the lung-clearing process breaks down. This deficit may contribute to lung infections and inflammation that cause serious, life-shortening illness in people with CF.

In a new study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Early Edition, University of Iowa researchers led by Michael Welsh, MD, director of the UI Pappajohn Biomedical Institute, professor of internal medicine in the UI Carver College of Medicine, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and Lynda Ostedgaard, PhD, investigated how CF alters the structure of mucus produced in airway passages.

... more about:
»cystic fibrosis »fibrosis »lung »mucus

The study focused on two gel-forming mucin proteins, MUC5B and MUC5AC, that are the major components of airway mucus. Studying these two proteins in pigs, the researchers found that they have distinct and different structures and origins. MUC5B is produced by submucosal glands in the form of strands, while MUC5AC is secreted by goblet cells as wispy threads and thin sheets.

The study also showed that once these two types of mucus protein emerge onto the airway surface, they combine so that the MUC5B strands are partly covered with MUC5AC sheets. This overall structure may be helpful for capturing and clearing inhaled particles.

However, in pig airways that are affected by CF, these mucins look different. The strands of MUC5B become tangled, and often fill the submucosal gland ducts and fail to detach properly, and MUC5AC sheets are larger and more abundant.

"We generally think of mucus that covers the airways as a homogeneous material," says Ostedgaard, UI research associate professor of internal medicine, and first author of the study. "This work reveals that mucus from submucosal glands and mucus from goblet cells have different morphological structures.

These structures may serve different purposes in clearing particulates and bacteria from our lungs. Our study also shows how these structures are abnormal in cystic fibrosis, explaining why patients with this disease have difficulty clearing mucus from their lungs."

The next step will be to understand why airways produce these different types of mucus structures and learn whether the different mucus structures actually play a role in CF lung disease, and other airway diseases like asthma and COPD

"Our observations make us think differently about how mucus functions in the airway, and how that might change in lung diseases like cystic fibrosis," Ostedgaard says. A better understanding of the structure and proper function of airway mucus might help us understand how abnormal mucus develops in CF, and even point us to new ways to treat or prevent lung disease."

###

In addition to Ostedgaard and Welsh, the UI team also included Tom Moninger, James McMenimen, Nicholas Swain, Connor Parker, Ian Thornell, Linda Powers, Nicholas Gansemer, Drake Bouzek, Daniel Cook, David Meyerholz, Mahmoud Abou Alaiwa, and David Stoltz.

The research was supported in part by grants from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust.

Jennifer Brown | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: cystic fibrosis fibrosis lung mucus

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New nanomedicine slips through the cracks
24.04.2019 | University of Tokyo

nachricht Sugar entering the brain during septic shock causes memory loss
23.04.2019 | Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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: Full speed ahead for SmartEEs at Automotive Interiors Expo 2019

Flexible, organic and printed electronics conquer everyday life. The forecasts for growth promise increasing markets and opportunities for the industry. In Europe, top institutions and companies are engaged in research and further development of these technologies for tomorrow's markets and applications. However, access by SMEs is difficult. The European project SmartEEs - Smart Emerging Electronics Servicing works on the establishment of a European innovation network, which supports both the access to competences as well as the support of the enterprises with the assumption of innovations and the progress up to the commercialization.

It surrounds us and almost unconsciously accompanies us through everyday life - printed electronics. It starts with smart labels or RFID tags in clothing, we...

Im Focus: Energy-saving new LED phosphor

The human eye is particularly sensitive to green, but less sensitive to blue and red. Chemists led by Hubert Huppertz at the University of Innsbruck have now developed a new red phosphor whose light is well perceived by the eye. This increases the light yield of white LEDs by around one sixth, which can significantly improve the energy efficiency of lighting systems.

Light emitting diodes or LEDs are only able to produce light of a certain colour. However, white light can be created using different colour mixing processes.

Im Focus: Quantum gas turns supersolid

Researchers led by Francesca Ferlaino from the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian Academy of Sciences report in Physical Review X on the observation of supersolid behavior in dipolar quantum gases of erbium and dysprosium. In the dysprosium gas these properties are unprecedentedly long-lived. This sets the stage for future investigations into the nature of this exotic phase of matter.

Supersolidity is a paradoxical state where the matter is both crystallized and superfluid. Predicted 50 years ago, such a counter-intuitive phase, featuring...

Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

High-efficiency thermoelectric materials: New insights into tin selenide

25.04.2019 | Materials Sciences

Salish seafloor mapping identifies earthquake and tsunami risks

25.04.2019 | Earth Sciences

Using DNA templates to harness the sun's energy

25.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>