Why inflammation ravages ex-smokers’ lungsOctober 29th, 2009 - 5:46 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Oct 29 (ANI): Scientists from Baylor College of Medicine claim to have unravelled the mystery behind why inflammation still ravages lungs of some smokers who have kicked the habit years ago.
They found that certain dendritic cells in the lung - the cells that “present” a foreign antigen or protein to the immune system - provoke production of destructive T-cells that attack a key protein called elastin, leading to death of lung tissue and emphysema.
Dr. Farrah Kheradmand, associate professor of medicine - pulmonary and immunology at BCM, has already shown that T-helper cells and some enzymes in the lung destroyed tissue in the lungs of emphysema patients.
She found that a subset of antigen-presenting cells in the lung are programmed to turn peripheral blood cells into the cells that are activated and are associated with autoimmune inflammation.
They also found that elastin peptides can activate T cells -a sign that elastin is acting as an auto-antigen.
“This has implications for something that is important and biologically relevant,” said Kheradmand.
“Smokers are also at risk for diseases of the blood vessels such as the carotid artery and aorta. These blood vessels are also enriched in elastin. We believe that particular cells circulating in the body could react to elastin molecule at these remote sites,” she added.
This may help explain some of the cardiovascular and other complications associated with smoking tobacco. For example, skin is rich in elastin. The skin of smokers loses elasticity.
“The Holy Grail is to find smokers who are destined to develop auto-reactive cells before the disease is fully manifested,” she said.
She said they hope to come with a test for T-cells that attack elastin that could be used in the doctor’s office. However, she said, such a test would only identify patients at higher risk for emphysema and other elastin-associated diseases. It would not identify people at higher risk of lung cancer, for example.
The work appears in the current issue of Science Transformational Medicine. (ANI)
- Simple blood test could provide early detection of emphysema - Mar 12, 2011
- Study finds secret behind humans' near-perfect tissue elasticity over a lifetime - Mar 02, 2011
- Protein involved in cystic fibrosis linked to chronic lung diseases - Dec 30, 2010
- Smoking may increase risk for lung disease - Mar 10, 2011
- Chronic inhalation of polluted air 'can lead to inflammation, heart risk' - Apr 17, 2011
- Second-hand smoke 'triggers inflammatory response in lungs' - Aug 27, 2010
- Healthy liver-cell transplants may help treat genetic liver-lung disorder - Apr 23, 2011
- Drink black tea to detox, experts tell smokers - Oct 12, 2011
- Scientists grow arteries with most elastic protein reported - Feb 01, 2011
- Researchers cure type 1 diabetes in mice - Apr 09, 2010
- Secret of vital organs' elasticity unravelled - Mar 06, 2011
- Ill-effect of high-fat meal linked to belly fat - Feb 18, 2011
- Scientists closer to developing anti-malaria shot - Aug 06, 2012
- Decrease in protein levels could be sign child will develop diabetes - Apr 26, 2011
- Discovery could lead to 'next-gen' vaccines - Apr 08, 2012
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,