British scientists have identified a genetic switch to keep a check on it, reports Mirror. If successful, it’s hoped that the advance could stop it at the origin of the disease.
Scientists at the University of Southampton analysed the impact of the gene ADAM33, which is associated with the development of asthma. ADAM33 makes an enzyme which is attached to cells in the airway muscles.
But when the enzyme loses its anchor to the cell surface, it is prone to going rogue around the lung causing poorer lung function in people who have asthma.
The studies in human tissue samples and mice suggest if you switch off ADAM33 or prevent it from going rogue, the features of asthma – including airway remodelling, with more muscle and blood vessels around the airways, twitchiness and inflammation – will be reduced.
The first study showed that rogue human ADAM33 causes airway remodelling resulting in more muscle and blood vessels around the airways of developing lungs, but it did not cause inflammation.
In another study, remodelling of the airway was shown in mice that had ADAM33 switched on in utero. Led by Hans Michel Haitchi, associate professor in respiratory medicine, the study is published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI) Insight.