Yale scientists have found that a molecule normally associated with the growth of new blood vessels in the lungs probably plays a role in asthma, raising the possibility of developing drugs that block the molecule’s receptors and signaling pathways.
The molecule, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), induced asthmalike abnormalities when it was expressed in the lungs of transgenic mice, according to a report published in the journal Nature Medicine in September.
“To our surprise, in addition to growing new blood vessels, many features of asthma were also seen in these mice,” said principal investigator Jack A. Elias, M.D., the Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Medicine. “We saw mucus formation, airway fibrosis and asthmalike pulmonary function abnormalities. We also found that if you block VEGF, you block the asthmalike manifestations in other mouse asthma models.”
Elias and his team are currently examining how VEGF works at the cellular and molecular levels.
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