Scientists at Johns Hopkins have outlined a new path for potential therapies to combat inflammation associated with sinusitis and asthma based on a new understanding of the bodys earliest immune response in the nose and sinus cavities.
Researchers say their findings, to be published in the May edition of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, are the first evidence describing how viral agents, such as the rhinovirus responsible for the common cold, can kick start the bodys mobilization of immune white blood cells in the moist, mucous membrane lining of the nasal passages.
While such responses are key to maintain health in the face of pathogens, they can also become a source of illness due to resulting inflammation. This can lead to potentially life-long problems, including tissue swelling, nasal polyp formation, sneezing, stuffy and runny nose, sore throat, cough, headache, chills, fever and difficulty breathing.
Thus, blocking these reactions, the researchers point out, could interrupt the cascade of feel-awful symptoms that ensue.
The focus of the study is B7-related proteins, called B7 homologs, which trip white blood cell response in a pathogen attack.
Using purified cold virus and its genetic material as bait, the scientists found that production of two B7 homologs spiked in response: Levels of B7-H1 jumped almost ninefold and levels of B7-DC tripled.
Until now, says senior study investigator Jean Kim, M.D., Ph.D., viruses were known to reside in and infect the physical epithelium, invading surface membrane cells and revving up the immune systems main blood cell defenses, but no one knew the major steps involved in or precisely how this immune response was triggered.
The inside surface of our nose and sinuses is much more than a protective cover, and we have good scientific evidence to show that epithelial cells on these mucosal membranes are very powerful mediators - middl
|Contact: David March|
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions