What is it about?
To better understand severe asthma, a complex and heterogeneous disease, we looked at mRNA gene expression in the immune cells within the lungs of these patients. We found that many factors influence the gene expression in these cells, including age, sex, race and medication use. After identifying and disregarding these influences, we were able to identify important repair and anti-inflammatory proteins that were lacking in severe asthma, providing new targets for future treatments.
Photo by David Clode on Unsplash
Why is it important?
To better understand the causes of severe asthma and as part of a large, multi-center study known as the Severe Asthma Research Program (SARP), researchers performed endoscopies and gathered immune cells from within the lungs of 154 asthma and healthy control volunteers. We then looked at messenger RNA (mRNA) within these cells to better understand, on a cellular level, the causes of severe disease. Interestingly, we found that the medications we use to treat asthma, namely beta agonists in rescue inhalers, are likely having a strong, previously unknown effect on the function of immune cells.
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This page is a summary of: BAL Cell Gene Expression in Severe Asthma Reveals Mechanisms of Severe Disease and Influences of Medications, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, October 2019, American Thoracic Society, DOI: 10.1164/rccm.201811-2221oc.
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