Caspase-11: Protein That Causes Asthma

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.
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