A team of researchers have defined a new process in mice that may offer insight as to why blood oxygen levels are lower for patients with cystic fibrosis when they get a lung infection.

“Infected areas of the lung are not as capable as healthy tissue at adding oxygen to the bloodstream, but no one has shown why this is the case,” said Dr. Wolfgang Kuebler, a scientist in the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science of St. Michael’s Hospital. “We’ve shown that the protein produced by a gene known as CFTR is required to direct blood flow away from infected areas in the lung so that oxygen can reach the bloodstream.”

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