Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Giving Mice A Cold Virus Offers Hope Of New Asthma Treatments

Date:
February 7, 2008
Source:
Imperial College London
Summary:
Scientists have been able to recreate rhinovirus infection, which is behind most common colds, in a small animal for the first time. For fifty years since they were discovered, it had been thought that rhinoviruses could only infect humans and chimpanzees. Rhinoviruses are an unwelcome inconvenience for the majority of the population as they cause around three quarters of common colds.

Scientists have been able to recreate rhinovirus infection, which is behind most common colds, in a small animal for the first time. For fifty years since they were discovered, it had been thought that rhinoviruses could only infect humans and chimpanzees.
Credit: iStockphoto/Jennifer Sheets

Scientists have been able to recreate rhinovirus infection, which is behind most common colds, in a small animal for the first time. For fifty years since they were discovered, it had been thought that rhinoviruses could only infect humans and chimpanzees. But now a team of scientists led by Professor Sebastian Johnston at the MRC/Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma at Imperial College London, has been able to infect mice with rhinoviruses.

Rhinoviruses are an unwelcome inconvenience for the majority of the population as they cause around three quarters of common colds. However they can also have serious consequences. In susceptible people, they can be fatal. They can lead to the hospitalisation of infants, pneumonia in people with weakened immune systems and they trigger most asthma attacks. They are also the major cause of acute attacks of COPD (chronic bronchitis and emphysema), and are thus the major killer in these diseases.

Professor Johnston said: “Until now it has not been possible to study rhinovirus infection in small animals. This has been a major obstacle to developing new treatments and there is currently no effective treatment for rhinovirus infection.”

It had been thought that mice and other small animals were resistant to rhinoviruses. Of the 100 known strains of rhinovirus, 90 per cent use a binding molecule, called ICAM-1 that is found on the surface of human cells, as their receptor. But the viruses are unable to bind to the mouse version of this receptor.

Professor Johnston explained: "We previously found that once inside the mouse cell a rhinovirus reproduces itself as well as it does in human cells. But the virus couldn’t infect the mouse cell because the receptor (acting like a door key) couldn’t get into the cell.

“Now we’ve modified the mouse receptor so it is more like a human one. This means the virus can infect the cells of these modified mice.”

Professor Johnston added: "We found that mice with the modified receptor were susceptible to infection with a rhinovirus. If combined with an allergen (ovalbumin which is found in egg white) that could cause an allergic reaction in the lungs, the virus could make the response worse and lead to an 'asthma attack'."

The team was able to observe that when the virus was combined with an allergic reaction, the mouse responded similarly to humans. This means it provides a good model for the study of severe asthma attacks.

"These mouse models should provide a major boost to research efforts to develop new treatments for the common cold, as well as for more potentially fatal illnesses such as acute attacks of asthma and of COPD."

The chief executive of the Medical Research Council, Sir Leszek Borysiewicz said: “This important and fundamental discovery will enable us to understand the effects rhinoviruses and common colds have on our health. It will open up new paths to finding treatments which have been delayed for many years and provides us with the opportunities for further breakthroughs in the future.”

Leanne Male, Assistant Director of Research at Asthma UK commented: "Ninety per cent of people with asthma tell us that colds and flu triggers their asthma symptoms but as yet there is no specific treatment for virally induced asthma attacks and steroid treatments are only partially effective against them. We welcome this latest advancement as it will lead to a greater understanding of viral infections and their link with asthma and may help the development of a suitable treatment for virus-induced asthma attacks, thus greatly improving the lives of the 5.2 million people with the condition in the UK."

Journal article: Mouse models of rhinovirus-induced disease and exacerbation of allergic airway inflammation. Published online in Nature Medicine.

The research was funded by the Medical Research Council, Asthma UK and GlaxoSmithKline.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Imperial College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Imperial College London. "Giving Mice A Cold Virus Offers Hope Of New Asthma Treatments." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080205195818.htm>.
Imperial College London. (2008, February 7). Giving Mice A Cold Virus Offers Hope Of New Asthma Treatments. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080205195818.htm
Imperial College London. "Giving Mice A Cold Virus Offers Hope Of New Asthma Treatments." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080205195818.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, April 21, 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