Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lungs Try To Repair Damaged Elastic Fibers

Date:
November 15, 2006
Source:
American Physiological Society
Summary:
The lungs of patients suffering chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) attempt to repair damaged elastic fibers, a new finding that contradicts the conventional wisdom on the capabilities of the adult lung. The researchers found that synthesis of elastin, a gene linked to elastic fiber growth, is increased in the moderately diseased tissue of COPD patients. Elastic fibers allow the lung to expand and contract with breathing.

The lungs of patients suffering chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) attempt to repair damaged elastic fibers, a new finding that contradicts the conventional wisdom on the capabilities of the adult lung.

Related Articles


The study "Evidence for attempted regional elastic fiber repair in severe emphysema," was done by Jason Woods, Kristin Castillo, Alexander Patterson and Richard Pierce of Washington University, St. Louis, Mo.; Joel Cooper of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; and James Hogg of St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia. The authors will be present their findings Nov. 3 at The American Physiological Society conference "Physiological Genomics and Proteomics of Lung Disease."

The researchers found that synthesis of elastin, a gene linked to elastic fiber growth, is increased in the moderately diseased tissue of COPD patients. Elastic fibers allow the lung to expand and contract with breathing.

"We've found elastin synthesis to increase in the air sacs (alveoli) and airways of the lungs of patients suffering severe or end-stage COPD," Woods explained. "This shows that the lung may be attempting to repair itself."

The finding is important because it could pave the way to develop a drug to 'turn on' key genes to allow the lung to grow new alveoli, he said. Alveoli play a role in the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the lungs and the circulatory system.

A 2-year-old could do it

Very young children who suffer lung injuries increase elastin expression and produce new elastic fibers inside the alveoli, Woods said. Adults do not have that ability and that has led physiologists to conclude that the elastin gene must shut off after we reach a certain age, ending elastin fiber production.

Physiologists want to understand this process in the hope that it could be harnessed to repair the diseased adult lung. In particular, Woods and his colleagues looked at three genes associated with elastic fiber assembly: Emilin-1, MFAP2 and elastin. They found the expression of elastin consistently increased in the diseased lungs they studied.

In a preliminary study, the researchers examined two diseased lungs removed from end-stage COPD patients undergoing lung transplants. COPD develops as a result of exposure to toxins such as cigarette smoke, resulting in inflammation to the small airways and destruction of elastic fibers within alveoli. The patients suffered from emphysema.

The team used hyperpolarized magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to characterize the regions of the lung showing moderate emphysema and regions showing severe emphysema. They found that new elastin synthesis was initiated in moderately diseased specimens.

The researchers did a second study using 10 lungs from end-stage COPD patients who had undergone transplants. Again, they found the greatest amount of elastin gene expression in the moderately diseased areas of the lungs, Woods said. There was no variability in elastin levels within the control lungs.

Further, the team found that the increase in elastin expression occurred on the alveolar walls, the same area where elastin occurs during the lung's development in children. This shows the lung is attempting to repair the elastic fibers in end-stage emphysema, the authors concluded.

Funding

National Institutes of Health (Pierce) and the Barnes-Jewish Foundation (Woods).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Physiological Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Physiological Society. "Lungs Try To Repair Damaged Elastic Fibers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061103083537.htm>.
American Physiological Society. (2006, November 15). Lungs Try To Repair Damaged Elastic Fibers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061103083537.htm
American Physiological Society. "Lungs Try To Repair Damaged Elastic Fibers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061103083537.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins