Researchers have discovered the precise molecular steps that enable immune cells implicated in certain forms of asthma and allergy to develop and survive in the body, as reported by Science Daily.
In their study, published July 6 in Nature Immunology, the investigators discovered that a signaling pathway, formed by two proteins that help cells survive stressful conditions, also plays a critical role in eosinophil development. When the investigators altered the function of either of those proteins, the eosinophils, but not other cell types, underwent excess stress and were completely wiped out, suggesting that this pathway could serve as a new therapeutic target for patients who respond poorly to current asthma therapies.
“Our findings demonstrate that individual cell types, particularly eosinophils, interpret and manage stress in distinct ways,” said lead author Dr. Sarah E. Bettigole, a postdoctoral fellow at Weill Cornell. “If we disrupt the ability to respond to stress, sensitive cells like eosinophils die off. These subtle differences could be leveraged to develop novel therapies for diseases like asthma and eosinophilic leukemia.”