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Human Airways' 'Brush' Mechanism Gives Clues to Lung Diseases
Date:8/23/2012

or bacteria penetrate through the mucus. They would not penetrate through the brush layer because the brush is denser," he added.

"We found that there is a specific condition, below which the brush is healthy and cells are happy," Rubinstein said. "But above this ideal condition, in diseases like [cystic fibrosis] or COPD, the brush becomes compressed and actually prevents the normal cilia beating and healthy flow of mucus."

If the mucus layer becomes too dense, it can crash through the brush layer, collapse the cilia and stick to the cells lining the airways, the authors noted in the news release.

"The collapse of this brush is what can lead to immobile mucus and result in infection, inflammation and eventually the destruction of lung tissue and the loss of lung function," Rubinstein explained. Insights like those might someday help researchers develop new treatments for lung diseases, he added, and also provide a way to assess the effectiveness of those treatments.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Association for the Advancement of Science, news release, Aug. 23, 2012


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