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Potential Cause of Asthma-Like Symptoms Spotted in Mice

Potential Cause of Asthma-Like Symptoms Spotted in Mice

08/30/10

SUNDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- A possible genetic basis for severe asthma has been identified by researchers, and although the findings are based on a study in mice, the discovery may someday help people.

Asthma rates have been increasing in recent years. In susceptible people, the disease can be triggered by a number of environmental factors, including cigarette smoke, allergens and air pollution, senior investigator Marsha Wills-Karp, director of the division of immunobiology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, noted in a hospital news release.

In their study, the researchers found that an inflammation-causing protein called interleukin-17 (IL-17A) is the major cause of severe asthma-like symptoms in mice. The animals used in the study had been bred to have a genetic resemblance to humans with severe susceptibility to asthma.

The finding "suggests that at some point it may be possible to treat or prevent severe forms of asthma by inhibiting pathways that drive the production of IL-17A," Wills-Karp said in the news release.

Scientists typically caution, however, that many discoveries in animal models do not translate into therapies for humans.

The study findings are published in the Aug. 29 issue of the journal Nature Immunology.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about asthma.

Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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