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SNUH researchers discover protein causing asthma
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2018.03.15 17:58
  • Updated 2018.03.16 17:30
  • comments 0

Researchers at Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH) have discovered a protein that causes asthma.

Professor Chung Doo-hyun

Asthma is a chronic disease involving the airways in the lungs. The illness causes inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes and causes dyspnoea and dizziness.

The research team, led by Professor Chung Doo-hyun of the department of pathology, uncovered that the XCL1 protein expressed in natural killer T (NKT) cells induces asthma by attracting dendritic cells.

From 2015 to 2017, the team divided 100 genetically engineered mice into two groups – 50 normal mice and 50 mice lacking XCL1 protein. After inducing the rats with asthma, the team found that mice that lacked XCL protein contracted about four times less asthma compared to normal mice.

According to the hospital, the research has shown the possibility that by regulating the secretion of XCL1 protein they can limit the pulmonary inflow of dendritic cells into the lungs. As a result, it presented a potential therapeutic target for asthma.

“Until now, asthma had no effective treatment besides from steroid injection, which only had temporary therapeutic effects of relaxing the airway sphincter,” Professor Chung said. “Based on this immunologically-based study, we can expect to develop effective new therapies.”

Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology published the result of the study.


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