University of North Carolina scientists have uncovered a new strategy that may one day help people with cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder better clear the thick and sticky mucus that clogs their lungs and leads to life-threatening infections.
In a new report appearing online in The FASEB Journal, researchers show that the “SPLUNC1″ protein and its derivative peptides may be able to help thin this thick mucus by affecting the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC). Not only does this research have implications for cystic fibrosis and COPD, but it also enhances the understanding of hypertension due to the role it also plays in controlling blood pressure.
“We hope that this study will pave the way for a new class of peptide-based channel inhibitors that can help reverse the mucus dehydration seen in Cystic Fibrosis and COPD,” said Robert Tarran, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Cystic Fibrosis/Pulmonary Research and Treatment Center at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. “This would help restore mucus clearance and kick-start the lung’s ability to clear unwanted pathogens.”
via Science Daily
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