Scientists have identified a critical role for a protein never implicated in asthma previously, that may lead to improved therapeutic options for people living with the condition. Caspase-11 is a protein with an important role in defending against bacteria, researchers from Trinity College Dublin in Ireland found.
The research has been published in Nature Communications.
- Caspase-11 is a key driver of inflammation in the airways in asthma.
- This causes the signs and symptoms of asthma which most notably involves difficulty breathing.
- When it is over-active it can provoke a damaging inflammatory reaction.
- When this happens, it is likely to be a key driver of allergic inflammation in the lungs of asthmatics.
- Caspase-11 can cause cells to die, which is a very inflammatory event as the cells then release their contents, which can irritate tissues in our body.
Role of Inflammation in Asthma
- Asthma is a very common and often serious disease of childhood.
- The researchers have been exploring the role that inflammation plays in asthma.
- Although symptoms of mild asthma can be managed with current therapies, severe asthma remains very difficult to treat. A variety of irritants such as airborne pollutants, certain types of pollen and house dust mites can induce cell death in the lungs.
- The latest research suggests that Caspase-11 is sensing these noxious things and causing the disease.
- Caspase-11 has never been implicated in asthma before so it holds great promise as a possible target for new drugs to treat this common, debilitating disease.