Breaking News
February 18, 2019 - Heavy smoking could lead to vision loss, study finds
February 18, 2019 - New diagnostic test for malaria uses spit, not blood
February 18, 2019 - New therapeutic molecules show promise in reversing memory loss related to depression, aging
February 18, 2019 - Darla Shine joins anti-vaccination campaigners
February 18, 2019 - New study outlines sex-specific issues in ischemic heart disease
February 18, 2019 - Drug combinations could become first-line treatment for metastatic kidney cancer
February 18, 2019 - Lifetime adversity, increased neural processing during trauma combine to intensify core PTSD symptoms
February 18, 2019 - HRQoL Scores Decrease With Treatment Line in Multiple Myeloma
February 18, 2019 - Convincing evidence that type 2 diabetes is a cause of erectile dysfunction
February 18, 2019 - Art Institute of Chicago announces results of research on five terracotta sculptures
February 18, 2019 - New PET/CT tracer shows high detection rate for diagnosis of acute venous thromboembolism
February 18, 2019 - Smoking may blight immune response against melanoma and reduce survival
February 18, 2019 - How Inactivity and Junk Food Can Harm Your Brain
February 18, 2019 - Diabetes tops common conditions for frequent geriatric emergency patients
February 18, 2019 - Longer-lived sperm produces offspring with healthier lifespans
February 18, 2019 - New dental adhesive prevents tooth decay around orthodontic brackets
February 18, 2019 - New eHealth tool shows potential to improve quality of asthma care
February 18, 2019 - New Australian initiative helps emergency clinicians to improve patient care
February 17, 2019 - Apellis Pharmaceuticals’ APL-2 Receives Fast Track Designation from the FDA for the Treatment of Patients with Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria
February 17, 2019 - Researchers identify faulty ‘brake’ that interferes with heart muscle’s ability to contract and relax
February 17, 2019 - Support from trusted adults can reduce risk of dying in suicidal teens, finds study
February 17, 2019 - Heart attack awareness improved since 2008
February 17, 2019 - Exercise gives a better brain boost to older men than women
February 17, 2019 - New research disproves previous assumptions of how looks influence personality
February 17, 2019 - Cannabis use as a teenager linked to depression later in life
February 17, 2019 - Sinks by Toilets in ICU Patient Rooms Harbor Harmful Bacteria
February 17, 2019 - Cancer cells’ plasticity makes them harder to stop
February 17, 2019 - Young cannabis users have increased risk of depression and suicidal behavior
February 17, 2019 - Tasmanian Devils Likely to Survive Cancer Scourge
February 17, 2019 - Neoadjuvant PD-1 blockade seems effective in glioblastoma
February 17, 2019 - Personal, social factors play role in enabling sustainable return to work after ill health
February 17, 2019 - Mouse studies show ‘inhibition’ theory of autism wrong
February 17, 2019 - Study shows how neuroactive steroids inhibit activity of pro-inflammatory proteins
February 17, 2019 - Use of liver grafts from older donors decreased despite better outcomes in recipients
February 17, 2019 - MUSC researchers discover new mechanism for a class of anti-cancer drugs
February 17, 2019 - HPV misconceptions are causing women to miss smear tests
February 17, 2019 - Sanofi and Regeneron Offer Praluent (alirocumab) at a New Reduced U.S. List Price
February 17, 2019 - Researchers say auditory testing can identify children for autism screening
February 17, 2019 - New method analyzes how single biological cells react to stressful situations
February 17, 2019 - WVU gynecologic oncologist investigates novel treatment for cervical and vaginal cancers
February 17, 2019 - ADHD diagnoses poorly documented
February 17, 2019 - Majority of gender minority youth do not identify with traditional sexual identity labels
February 17, 2019 - AbbVie, Teneobio enter into strategic transaction to develop potential treatment for multiple myeloma
February 17, 2019 - Lower Birth Weight May Up Risk for Psychiatric Disorders
February 17, 2019 - Scientists identify reversible molecular defect underlying rheumatoid arthritis
February 17, 2019 - Moffitt researchers shed light on how CAR T cells function mechanistically
February 16, 2019 - Female Anatomy May Play Big Role in Sperm’s Success
February 16, 2019 - BMI may mediate inverse link between fiber intake, knee OA
February 16, 2019 - Movement impairments in autism can be reversed through behavioral training
February 16, 2019 - Studies address racial disparities in postpartum period and cardiovascular health
February 16, 2019 - Scientists implicate hidden genes in the severity of autism symptoms
February 16, 2019 - Decreased deep sleep linked to early signs of Alzheimer’s disease
February 16, 2019 - Neuroscientists show how the brain responds to texture
February 16, 2019 - Gilead Announces Topline Data From Phase 3 STELLAR-4 Study of Selonsertib in Compensated Cirrhosis (F4) Due to Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)
February 16, 2019 - What Can I Do About Sweating? (for Teens)
February 16, 2019 - Companies navigate dementia conversations with older workers
February 16, 2019 - Newly developed stem cell technologies show promise for treating PD patients
February 16, 2019 - Collaborative material research could advance self-assembling nanomaterials
February 16, 2019 - Researchers take major step in creating technology that mimics the human brain
February 16, 2019 - Erasing memories associated with cocaine use reduces drug seeking behavior
February 16, 2019 - Artificial intelligence can accurately predict prognosis of ovarian cancer patients
February 16, 2019 - Racial disparities in cancer deaths on the decline for America
February 16, 2019 - FDA authorizes new interoperable insulin pump for children, adults with diabetes
February 16, 2019 - Coexisting Medical Conditions, Smoking Explain PTSD-CVD Link
February 16, 2019 - Skin Cancer Screening: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
February 16, 2019 - ‘Happiness’ exercises can boost mood in those recovering from substance use disorder
February 16, 2019 - Cell manipulation could soon halt or reverse aging
February 16, 2019 - Pumped Breast Milk Falls Short of Breastfed Version
February 16, 2019 - Men’s porn habits could fuel partners’ eating disorders, study suggests
February 16, 2019 - Rapid progression of age-related diseases may result from formation of vicious cycles
February 16, 2019 - Immune checkpoint molecule protects against future development of cancer
February 16, 2019 - New method produces hydrogels that have properties similar to cells’ environment
February 16, 2019 - $4.1 million funding for heart research on Valentine’s Day
February 16, 2019 - General anesthesia in early infancy unlikely to have lasting effects on developing brains
February 16, 2019 - New breakthroughs for muscular dystrophy research
February 16, 2019 - First Opinion: Embryo editing for higher IQ is a fantasy. Embryo profiling for it is almost here
February 16, 2019 - Vapers develop cancer-related gene deregulation as cigarette smokers
February 16, 2019 - Bringing Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (AST) to the Community
February 16, 2019 - Decolonization protocol after hospital discharge can prevent dangerous infections
February 16, 2019 - Children with ASD more likely to face maltreatment, study finds
Excessive airway nerves tied to more severe asthma symptoms, study finds

Excessive airway nerves tied to more severe asthma symptoms, study finds

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
Researchers Matthew Drake, M.D. (left), and lab manager Emily Blum use a confocal microscope to generate three-dimensional imagery of airway nerves. Their research demonstrated that inflammatory cells can alter nerve structure in the lungs to cause asthma. Credit: Kristyna Wentz-Graff/OHSU

A new study implicates remodeling of nerves in the airways as a key contributor to heightened sensitivity and airway constriction in patients with asthma.

The study published today in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

The results provide new insight into a little-understood factor in the development of asthma, a condition that affects about 235 million people worldwide. The study is the first to demonstrate that inflammatory cells can alter nerve structure in the lungs to cause disease.

Airway nerves sense inhaled particles, such as pollen and smoke, in the environment and help regulate airway constriction. In asthma, these nerves become more sensitive, causing patients to develop symptoms of wheezing and cough. Although previous research had shown that two-thirds of patients with asthma have an overabundance of a type of immune cell, called eosinophils, the effects of eosinophils on airway nerves were not fully understood.

To study airway nerves in asthma, researchers used OHSU’s state-of-the-art confocal microscopes to generate three-dimensional imagery capturing a complete picture of airway nerves and their interactions with eosinophils.

“Picture the branches of trees in a forest,” said lead author Matthew Drake, M.D., assistant professor of medicine (pulmonary and critical care medicine) in the OHSU School of Medicine in Portland, Oregon. “In previous studies, researchers could only visualize small sections of the branches, which meant you could never see the whole tree or how multiple trees fit together. With our new method, you can see both the forest and the trees.”

A quantitative 3D model of airway sensory nerves (green) from a patient with moderate persistent asthma. Credit: M.G. Drake et al., Science Translational Medicine (2018)

Using this new 3-D method, Drake’s team studied the length of nerves and how often they branch in the airways of healthy patients and in patients with asthma. They found that in asthma, airway nerves are denser.

“In essence, the trees are growing more branches,” Drake said. “As a result of those changes, nerves are more easily irritated, which leads to exaggerated responses that constrict the airway.”

The research also showed that having more eosinophils increased the likelihood of having denser nerves and that increased nerves connected with more severe asthma symptoms.

“Changes in nerve structure are clearly tied to worse lung function in asthma,” Drake said.

However, future studies are needed to determine whether these changes are preventable, or if this process is reversible once it is established, either by treating with currently available asthma drugs or by developing new medications, Drake said.


Explore further:
Why antacids—not your inhaler—may be the key to treating your asthma

More information:
Matthew G. Drake et al, Eosinophils increase airway sensory nerve density in mice and in human asthma, Science Translational Medicine (2018). DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aar8477

Journal reference:
Science Translational Medicine

Provided by:
Oregon Health & Science University

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles