Genetic damage from asthma found in blood

5 November 2014

A team at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has found that asthma can damage more than just a person's lungs. The research found that the disease could be more dangerous than previously thought as genetic damage is found in circulating blood.

It was previously assumed that this sort of harm was limited to the lungs, but the new study suggests otherwise. The research focused on overexpression of a cytokine called interleukin 13 (IL-13), which is known to mediate inflammation and is a critical problem for asthmatics.

Using an animal model that recreated human asthma, the study was the first to analyse IL-13 in terms of how it causes genetic damage to cells, commonly called genotoxicity.

Senior author, Robert Schiestl, a professor of pathology and radiation oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, said the research is important as asthma is a widespread issue and has an impact on the entire body - not just the lungs.

The findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis.

Posted by Philip Briggs​


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