Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Allergies, Lung Infections Need Different Treatments, Study Indicates

Date:
January 31, 2007
Source:
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Summary:
New research suggests that different treatments may be needed for chronic asthma, depending on whether it results from allergies or lung infections.

New research suggests that different treatments may be needed for chronic asthma, depending on whether it results from allergies or lung infections.

Previous studies have shown that certain lung infections such as Mycoplasma pneumoniae can linger on and contribute to a person later experiencing symptoms of asthma.

Researchers have now identified a particular gene that influences how severe a M. pneumoniae infection may be, which in turn suggests that a different strategy might be needed for treating asthma resulting from this and similar lung infections rather than allergies.

"What this shows is that infectious asthma might have a different mechanism than allergic asthma. Most people think asthma is asthma, but it may be multifaceted," said Dr. Robert Hardy, an infectious disease specialist at UT Southwestern.

That's an important implication because the latest statistics show that asthma is on the rise. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more than 20 million Americans currently have asthma and another 10 million have been diagnosed with asthma at some point in their life. Roughly 6.5 million American children, or nearly 9 percent of the nation's pre-adult population, have asthma, figures released in December show.

Dr. Hardy, an assistant professor of internal medicine and pediatrics, has been using mice to study how certain pneumonia bacteria contribute to chronic asthma and, in this latest study, identified how a particular gene may contribute to more severe lung infection. The research appears in the January edition of Infection and Immunity.

Pneumonia is a lung infection typically characterized by breathing difficulties and spread by coughing and sneezing. Symptoms often include headache, fever, chills, coughs, chest pains, sore throat and nausea. Dr. Hardy's research involves pneumonia caused by the bacterium M. pneumoniae, commonly called walking pneumonia, a typically less severe form of the disease that accounts for 20 percent to 30 percent of community-acquired pneumonia.

To investigate the mechanism by which M. pneumoniae causes lung disease and respiratory difficulties, the UT Southwestern researchers inoculated two different types of mice with this bacterium. The study contrasted the reaction of one normal group of mice with another group lacking a particular gene called IL-12, which is involved in immune response. The mice engineered without the gene showed significantly less lung inflammation than the mice that naturally had the gene, with some indicators showing seven times less inflammation.

"M. pneumoniae might be more of a cofactor in developing chronic asthma than a direct cause, similar to how high cholesterol or diabetes makes people more vulnerable to heart attacks," Dr. Hardy said, pointing to a number of previous studies. "It's probably not the only thing, but it's one of them. In some people it might incite asthma or it might exacerbate it."

Because the M. pneumoniae bacterium is difficult to kill and often remains in the lungs even after antibiotic treatment and the symptoms fade, Dr. Hardy said, it is important to find better treatments to prevent it from lingering.

Other UT Southwestern researchers involved in the study were Dr. George McCracken, professor and chief of pediatric infectious diseases; Dr. Ana Gomez, assistant professor of pathology; Drs. Christine Salvatore, Asuncion Mejias and Cynthia Somers, pediatrics postdoctoral trainees; Kathy Katz-Gaynor, pediatrics research associate; and Monica Fonseca-Aten and Susanna Chavez-Bueno, former pediatric postdoctoral trainees.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by UT Southwestern Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Allergies, Lung Infections Need Different Treatments, Study Indicates." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 January 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070131090742.htm>.
UT Southwestern Medical Center. (2007, January 31). Allergies, Lung Infections Need Different Treatments, Study Indicates. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070131090742.htm
UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Allergies, Lung Infections Need Different Treatments, Study Indicates." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070131090742.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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