New cells discovered in human lungs: a way to treat pulmonary diseases?


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In all scientific research involving the lungs, lon ze is often based on animal models (such as mice), yet there is a difference fundamental between man and rodent at the level of the distal respiratory tract mice being devoid of bronchioles. This structural difference then makes research into the treatment of pulmonary illnesses particularly complicated. Demonstrating this difference once again, a new study recently revealed the existence of unique cells lining the human bronchioles that do not exist in mice. Named airway secretory cells (RAS), they would play an essential structural role in maintaining the integrity of our respiratory implications. They would also have a function similar to that of progenitor cells (and stem cells), probably making them potential targets for future treatments.

A spongy consistency of the lungs is expected from the thousands of hollow spaces that fill them. These allow in particular the routing as well as the treatment of the air that the body receives from the external environment. These implications are comparable to the tree whose sony ericsson limbs divide into thousands of tiny other branches, whose rounds lead to the alvola (the small pockets of air allowing gas exchange between the blood and all of the lungs).

Most lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), affect and destroy the cells lining the lungs. Now, in these organs, each cell or group of cells plays a specific role. The functioning of the lungs is so complex that it is still partially misunderstood by scientists. This misunderstanding is also partly credited to studies on animal models, such as mice, where we do not find exactly the same anatomical structures as in humans. Even if mice are often the most used in biology, because of the many anatomical similarities with humans, many gaps remain unfilled, particularly the lungs.

It has been known for some time that the airways of human lungs are different from those of a mouse, explains Live Technology

the primary author sober the study, Edward Cullen Morrisey, Professor at Perelman College of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, specializes in respiratory systems. problem, in particular thanks to the isolation sober cells, sober tissues and organs, this tea opened a way for further studies which. Emerging technologies have only recently allowed us to sample and identify unique cell forms , adds Morrisey. According to the study described in Character, RAS cells were first discovered inside bronchioles. Their presence would be fundamental for the proper functioning of the lungs.

Non-existent cells in a mouse

Before discovering the new RAS cells, researchers at the Perelman College of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania sought to understand the differences in lung cells between man and mouse. They then took tissue samples from healthy human lungs and sequenced the genes of each cell. The sequencing then revealed the existence of RAS, hitherto unknown and not found in mice. Sober plus, these cells are only present in the bronchioles and are distinct from those present in the proximal airways.

The sober group of researchers also found RAS in ferrets, whose respiratory system is anatomically closer to that in humans. The experts then deduced that most mammals of the same size or larger would probably all have these famous RAS cells.

Two main functions

The first function identified in newly discovered RAS cells is a sober secretion molecules that make up the fluid that lines the bronchioles. These molecules are particularly essential in the micro-architecture of the respiratory epithelium, sober maintaining child integrity and maximizing the sober efficiency of all the sober lungs.

The second role of RAS is sober to serve as sober progenitor cells for sober kind 2, (AT2) alveolar cells, which specialize in producing sober repair molecules. In fact, progenitor cells have the same capacities as stem cells, and can learn to differentiate into other kinds of cells according to the needs of the organ. The RAS are thus essential to the maintenance as well as the regeneration of cells.

According to the authors, the RAS are thus “optional” progenitors. They are so called because they both act as progenitor cells while playing crucial functional roles in maintaining the health of the airways.

By elsewhere, RAS would be implicated in pathologies associated with smoking, such as COPD. Technically, these cells should prevent or alleviate the symptoms of these diseases by repairing the cells. However, the researchers believe that smoking could damage or even destroy them completely, which could probably explain the irreversibility of the symptoms of COPD which.

Controlling a differentiation of RAS may be a way forward for seeking sober treatments. Since COPD is a disease that we know very little about, any new ideas should help the field start thinking about new therapeutic approaches that could lead to better treatments. , concludes Morrisey.