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Asthma from ordinary colds
Certain viruses that cause common colds or other mild illnesses in healthy people can cause life-threatening shortness of breath in people with asthma. The new findings could help to prevent asthma attacks in the future.
Asthma attacks caused by common cold viruses According to a report by the dpa news agency, British researchers have discovered a mechanism by which common cold viruses trigger asthma attacks. In experiments in the laboratory as well as in mice and humans, the scientists showed that widespread rhinoviruses in certain lung cells boost the production of the signal substance interleukin-25 (IL-25). "This triggers a signal cascade similar to that of an allergic reaction". In the journal Science Translational Medicine, the team from Imperial College London wrote that agents that block IL-25 could prevent such asthma attacks.
Around 235 million asthmatics worldwide According to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), around 235 million people worldwide are suffering from asthma. A distinction is made between allergic and non-allergic asthma. In the non-allergic variant, the asthma attacks are often triggered by viral infections of the respiratory tract, predominantly by rhinoviruses. These pathogens usually cause harmless illnesses in healthy people, such as a cold, runny nose or sinus infection, sometimes accompanied by a headache. In contrast, in asthmatics such infections can sometimes cause life-threatening shortness of breath, similar to the reaction of the immune system to allergies.
Stopping asthma attacks The London scientists have now investigated the role of the messenger IL-25, which is involved in allergic reactions. In the laboratory, they infected cells of the lung epithelium of asthma patients and healthy people with rhinoviruses. It was then found that the cells of the asthmatics produced around ten times more IL-25. Subsequent trials with people infected with rhinoviruses confirmed that there was more IL-25 in the nasal mucus of the asthmatics. Finally, studies in mice showed that, in addition to IL-25, other signal substances were produced that favor inflammation. If IL-25 was blocked with an antibody, fewer such substances were formed. As the researchers said, this is an approach to prevent asthma attacks.
Chain reaction leads to seizures According to the "World", one of the study directors, Nathan Bartlett, is quoted in a college communication as follows: "Our study shows for the first time that the cells that line the airways of asthmatics are more susceptible to it, the small one Form molecule IL-25, which then apparently triggers a chain reaction that leads to seizures. "It goes on to say:" If we target the molecule at the beginning of this cascade, we may be able to discover a much needed new therapy to address this potentially life-threatening one Control reaction. "
Previous treatment options As the "Welt" continues, the study for Professor Tobias Bopp from the University Clinic in Mainz explains why rhinoviruses can have such dangerous consequences for asthmatics. "This was previously unknown," said the immunologist. The blockade of IL-25 is particularly promising, since this substance is at the beginning of the chain reaction. Especially for people for whom the previous treatment options for bronchial asthma reach their limits, new treatment methods could help to prevent or alleviate the symptoms. (ad)