Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cystic fibrosis breakthrough reveals why females fare worse than males

Date:
May 24, 2012
Source:
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI)
Summary:
Researchers have discovered why females with cystic fibrosis do worse than males. The study is the first to show that the female hormone estrogen promotes the presence of a particular form of bacteria which results in more severe symptoms for female cystic fibrosis patients. In addition, females who were taking the oral contraceptive pill, which decreases the amount of naturally occurring estrogen in their bodies, were found to have lower levels of the problematic bacteria.

Researchers from the Respiratory Research Division of the Department of Medicine, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) have published a study which represents a major breakthrough in understanding why females with cystic fibrosis do worse than males. The study is the first to show that the female hormone estrogen promotes the presence of a particular form of bacteria which results in more severe symptoms for female cystic fibrosis patients. In addition, females who were taking the oral contraceptive pill, which decreases the amount of naturally occurring estrogen in their bodies, were found to have lower levels of the problematic bacteria.

The paper was published May 24 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The research found that estrogen promoted the presence of a 'mucoid' form of the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the lungs of women with cystic fibrosis. These mucoid type of Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria are coated in a slimy layer which makes them more difficult to treat with antibiotics and more difficult to clear with the body's own natural defenses which leads to significant lung inflammation, explaining, at least in part, why females with cystic fibrosis often have a worse outcome.

Professor Gerry McElvaney, Director of the Respiratory Research Laboratory RCSI/Beaumont Hospital and joint senior author on the paper commented: "This study opens the way to a new understanding and potentially new therapies in the treatment of cystic fibrosis, a condition in which Ireland has the highest incidence in the world. This research study is among the first examples which shows the effects of gender hormones on infections and therefore has major implications for conditions beyond cystic fibrosis including other respiratory diseases such as asthma."

Dr. Sanjay Chotirmall, a Molecular Medicine Ireland (MMI) Clinician-Scientist fellow is the first author on the paper and Dr. Catherine Greene is the joint senior author.

The clinical research was carried out in the Cystic Fibrosis Unit, Beaumont Hospital and also utilised data from the National Cystic Fibrosis Registry of Ireland.

Cystic fibrosis is a life threatening inherited disease which primarily affects the lungs and the digestive system. A build up of mucus can make it difficult to clear bacteria and leads to cycles of lung infections and inflammation, which can eventually lead to damage of the lungs.

Ireland has both the highest incidence of CF in the world at 2.98 per 10,000 and the highest carrier rate in the world with 1 in 19 individuals classed as carriers. The incidence of cystic fibrosis in this country is almost two and a half times the average rate in other EU countries and the USA (1). At present, there are approximately 1,200 people with cystic fibrosis living in Ireland (2).

The cystic fibrosis research in the Respiratory Research Division exemplified by this paper is funded by the Health Research Board, Medical Charities Research group, Science Foundation Ireland, Molecular Medicine Ireland (MMI), CF Hopesource, Irish CF research trust along with individual donors such as Fergal Somerville who recently swam the English Channel in support of CF research in Beaumont Hospital.

This paper is an excellent example of the translational research presently underway in RCSI and illustrates interdepartmental and inter-institutional links as co-authors on the paper include colleagues from the Departments of Medicine (Dr. Sonya Cosgrove), General Practice (Dr. Borislav Dimitrov) and Molecular Medicine (Professor Brian Harvey), RCSI; Beaumont Hospital/RCSI (Dr. Cedric Gunaratnam, Professor Shane O'Neill); and the School of Medicine (Dr. Stephen Smith), Trinity College, Dublin.

The study's results are being presented by Dr. Greene at the American Thoracic Society meeting in San Francisco this month and by Dr. Chotirmall at the European Respiratory Society meeting in Vienna later this year

(1) Farrell PM. The prevalence of cystic fibrosis in the European Union. Journal of Cystic Fibrosis 2008 Sep;7(5):450-3.

(2) The Cystic Fibrosis Registry of Ireland


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sanjay H. Chotirmall, Stephen G. Smith, Cedric Gunaratnam, Sonya Cosgrove, Borislav D. Dimitrov, Shane J. O'Neill, Brian J. Harvey, Catherine M. Greene, Noel G. McElvaney. Effect of Estrogen on Pseudomonas Mucoidy and Exacerbations in Cystic Fibrosis. New England Journal of Medicine, 2012; 120520081514004 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1106126

Cite This Page:

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). "Cystic fibrosis breakthrough reveals why females fare worse than males." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120524092750.htm>.
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). (2012, May 24). Cystic fibrosis breakthrough reveals why females fare worse than males. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120524092750.htm
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). "Cystic fibrosis breakthrough reveals why females fare worse than males." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120524092750.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Reasons Why Teen Birth Rates Are At An All-Time Low

Reasons Why Teen Birth Rates Are At An All-Time Low

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) A CDC report says birth rates among teenagers have been declining for decades, reaching a new low in 2013. We look at several popular explanations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Common Antibiotic Could Lead To Heart-Related Death

Common Antibiotic Could Lead To Heart-Related Death

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) Danish researchers discovered patients taking clarithromycin have an increased risk of dying from a heart-related issue. 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