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Calcineurin Helps Newborns Breathe Easy

Date:
September 23, 2006
Source:
Journal of Clinical Investigation
Summary:
Many premature babies suffer from the potentially life threatening respiratory distress syndrome because their lungs have not completed the final stages of development when they are born. A new study in the JCI shows that in mice a protein known as calcineurin is essential for complete lung development. This identification of one pathway controlling the final stages of lung development in mice might help researchers design strategies to treat respiratory distress syndrome in premature babies.

It is only very late in pregnancy that the lungs of the fetus complete their development so that the fetus will be able to breathe air when it is born. As a result, many premature babies suffer from the potentially life threatening respiratory distress syndrome. The proteins that control the final stages of lung development have not been identified.

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Now, in a study appearing online on September 21, in advance of publication in the October print issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Vrushank Dav้ and colleagues from the University of Cincinnati, show that in mice a protein known as calcineurin is essential for complete lung development.

Mice lacking calcineurin function in the epithelial cells of the lung were unable to breathe properly and died shortly after birth because their lungs failed to develop fully. These effects of calcineurin were mediated by a protein known as NFATc3, which was shown to activate the expression of many of the genes that need to be activated if the final stages of lung development are to proceed normally.

This study describes one pathway controlling the final stages of lung development in mice and might help researchers design strategies to treat respiratory distress syndrome in premature babies.


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The above story is based on materials provided by Journal of Clinical Investigation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Calcineurin Helps Newborns Breathe Easy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060922093749.htm>.
Journal of Clinical Investigation. (2006, September 23). Calcineurin Helps Newborns Breathe Easy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060922093749.htm
Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Calcineurin Helps Newborns Breathe Easy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060922093749.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

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