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Protein associated with allergic response causes airway changes in asthma patients
Date:3/22/2011

sis. Fibroblast production of TGF-β1 has been implicated as a key pro-invasive factor in colon, breast and squamous carcinomas. IL-13, a critical regulator of the allergic response, has been implicated in cellular invasion in cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.

"The invasion of fibroblasts into the airway in asthmatic patients is one of several key features of airway remodeling," Dr. Ingram noted. "In a normal response, fibroblasts begin wound healing by depositing proteins and interacting with inflammatory cells. In asthma, this wound healing and remodeling response in the airway becomes deranged and uncontrolled, leading to increased numbers of fibroblasts invading the airway and contributing to fibrosis with diminished lung function over time."

In this study, researchers enrolled 37 subjects, including 20 men and women with mild asthma who were not taking inhaled corticosteroids, and 17 healthy controls. All asthmatic subjects had been diagnosed with asthma for at least one year prior to study enrollment. Airway cells were collected from all patients using bronchoscopy and studied in a laboratory setting. After application of IL-13, invading cells were counted using microscopy.

At baseline, no significant difference in airway fibroblast invasion was observed between asthmatic subjects and controls. However, the addition of IL-13 resulted in a significant increase in airway fibroblast invasion in asthma as compared to normal controls. In addition, airway fibroblasts of asthmatic subjects invaded in greater numbers than those of control subjects.

"These data indicate that IL-13 stimulates airway fibroblasts to invade and that this effect is specific for asthmatic airway fibroblasts," Dr. Ingram said. "We also demonstrated that this invasion response in asthma is mediated by both MMPs and TGF-β1, suggesting that both are critical mediators of the IL-13 pathway for invasion in asthma."

Because this study focuse
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Contact: Brian Kell
bkell@thoracic.org
212-315-6442
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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