Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How gene profiling in emphysema is helping to find a cure

Date:
August 31, 2012
Source:
BioMed Central Limited
Summary:
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death in the United States and is thought to affect almost three million people in the UK. New research has identified genes whose activity is altered with increasing lung damage and, using a database of drug effects on gene activity (the Connectivity Map), finds that the compound Gly-His-Lys (GHK) affects the activity of these genes.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death in the United States and is thought to affect almost three million people in the UK. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Genome Medicine has identified genes whose activity is altered with increasing lung damage and, using a database of drug effects on gene activity (the Connectivity Map), finds that the compound Gly-His-Lys (GHK) affects the activity of these genes. When tested on human cells from lungs damaged by emphysema, GHK was able to restore normal gene activity and repair cell function.

Related Articles


The strongest cause of COPD is smoking, and at least 25% of smokers will develop this disease. Tobacco smoke and other irritants cause oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, which over time results in emphysema, the destruction of lung alveolar cells. Without these cells, the lungs are not able to efficiently exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide, leaving the patient continuously short of breath and with low levels of oxygen in their blood.

In a ground breaking, multi-centre, study funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH), researchers used cells taken from lungs donated by patients undergoing double lung transplant, whose own lungs were irrevocably damaged by COPD. Profiling of these samples showed that 127 genes had changes in activity that was associated with worsening disease severity within the lung. As would be expected from the nature of the disease, several genes associated with inflammation, such as the genes involved in signalling to B-cells (the immune system cells which make antibodies), showed increased activity.

In contrast genes involved in maintaining cellular structure and normal cellular function, along with the growth factors TGFβ and VEGF, were down-regulated and showed decreased activity. This included genes which control the ability of the cells to stick together (cell adhesion), produce the protein matrix which normally surrounds the cells, and which promote the normal association between lung cells and blood vessels.

Dr Avrum Spira and Dr Marc Lenburg, who co-led this study from the Boston University School of Medicine, explained, "When we searched the Connectivity Map database, which is essentially a compendium of experiments that measure the effect of therapeutic compounds on every gene in the genome, we found that how genes were affected by the compound GHK, a drug known since the 1970s, was the complete opposite of what we had seen in the cells damaged by emphysema."

Dr Joshua Campbell explained, "What got us especially excited was that previous studies had shown that GHK could accelerate wound repair when applied to the skin. This made us think that GHK could have potential drug's as a therapy for COPD."

Prof James Hogg, from the University of British Columbia continued, "When we tested GHK on cells from the damaged lungs of smokers with COPD, we saw an improvement in the structure of their actin cytoskeleton and in cell adhesion, especially to collagen. GHK also restored the ability of cells to reorganise themselves to repair wounds and construct the contractile filaments essential for alveolar function."

GHK is a natural peptide found in human plasma, but the amount present decreases with age. While more testing needs to be done on its effects in COPD, these early results are very promising. Therapeutic studies with GHK in animal models of COPD are now underway with the ultimate goal of moving this compound into clinical trials. As more gene activity signatures are discovered, this method of matching drug to disease may provide a rapid method for discovering potential uses for existing drugs and compounds.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central Limited. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Joshua D Campbell, John E McDonough, Julie E Zeskind, Tillie L Hackett, Dmitri V Pechkovsky, Corry-Anke Brandsma, Masaru Suzuki, John V Gosselink, Gang Liu, Yuriy O Alekseyev, Ji Xiao, Xiaohui Zhang, Shizu Hayashi, Joel D Cooper, Wim Timens, Dirkje S Postma, Darryl A Knight, Marc E Lenburg, James C Hogg and Avrum Spira. A gene expression signature of emphysema-related lung destruction and its reversal by the tripeptide GHK. Genome Medicine, 2012

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central Limited. "How gene profiling in emphysema is helping to find a cure." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120831083317.htm>.
BioMed Central Limited. (2012, August 31). How gene profiling in emphysema is helping to find a cure. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120831083317.htm
BioMed Central Limited. "How gene profiling in emphysema is helping to find a cure." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120831083317.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
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