Asthma attacks are largely controlled by a certain protein
In the case of asthma diseases, acute seizures in particular pose a significant health risk. A special protein plays a major role in their development in allergic asthma - interleukin 33 (IL-33), according to a recent study by French scientists. This finding could also open up new approaches to asthma treatment.
- Protein IL-33 triggers asthma attacks.
- IL-33 breaks down into overactive fragments that initiate various chain reactions.
- Blockage of the protein could be used for treatment.
The research team of the Center national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) and the Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (INSERM) have been able to prove that allergic asthma is triggered by the overactive function of the protein IL-33, reports the scientific department of the French Embassy in the Federal Republic of Germany from the study results. The study was published in the journal "Nature Immunology".
Allergic asthma is the most common form of the disease
Allergic asthma is the most common form of bronchial asthma and sufferers experience an acute asthma attack after contact with allergens such as mites, pollen or mold. If the allergens get into the airways, they release enzymes (the so-called proteases), the experts explain the basis of the allergic reaction. Scientists at Paul-Sabatier University in Toulouse, led by CNRS and INSERM, have now identified a mechanism that explains how the asthma attack is triggered.
Protein IL-33 starts chain reactions
The researchers demonstrated in their investigations that the protein IL-33 breaks down into overactive fragments upon contact with the proteases, which subsequently trigger a series of chain reactions, which in turn are responsible for the occurrence of the allergic symptoms. In the experiments, the IL-33 reacted to 14 common allergens, the researchers report. These included various types of pollen, mites, fungal spores and chemical products, which are increasingly used in certain work areas, such as subtilisin, which is found in some cleaning agents.
Hope for new treatment approaches
In further studies it is now necessary to clarify whether the protein also opens up new approaches to asthma treatment. In a next step, the researchers plan to block the hyperfunction of the IL-33 to prevent severe asthma attacks. If this succeeds, allergic asthma could possibly be controlled much better in the future. (fp)