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Cause for Severe Allergic Asthma Identified
The cause for austere asthma has been identified by researchers at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The research team, led by Dr. Marsha Wills-Karp, has identified the pro-inflammatory protein interleukin-17 (IL-17A) as the molecular tipping point that upsets a precise balance between underlying mild disease and more severe asthma.
Some of the most common triggers are environmental contaminants such as cigarette smoke, allergens and airborne pollution. An exposure to these environmental allergens causes dysfunctional regulation of a gene named complement factor (C3). This in turn leads to extreme production of IL-17A by airway cells. This sets off an “amplification loop”, when the IL-17A induces more C3 production at the airway surface. This amplification loop continues to increase inflammatory responses together with airway hyper-responsiveness and airflow obstruction.
The study, carried out on mice, is published in the latest issue of Nature Immunology. With these findings, the researchers hope to have a better understanding of both the cause and the contamination process of severe allergic asthma, and through that come closer to a future prevention of the disease.