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Blocking a certain signalling molecule can alleviate symptoms for breathing problems like asthma as well as lead to improved treatments, finds a study. The findings showed that restricting the production of Interleukin 1 (IL-1) plays a central role in the regulation of immune and inflammatory responses to infections and could ease the symptoms, such as mucus, swelling and constriction of the airways in the lungs.
We found that by adding a signalling molecule Interleukin 1 (IL-1) using an experimental model of allergic asthma, the symptoms would worsen dramatically, said lead researcher Stephan Caucheteux from Cardiff University in Britain. The allergic immune response, which triggers the symptoms of asthma, is a complex process, which starts with the over-activation of a certain white blood cell, the allergen-specific helper T cells type 2 that plays an important role in the immune system.
The finding that IL-1 is involved in regulating the balance between inflammatory and anti-inflammatory Th2 cells has not only significantly enhanced our basic knowledge on T cell biology, but also provided a potentially effective and novel strategy to treat asthma, said one of the researchers Jeff Zhu from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in US.
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