High Hopes for Treatment of Asthma after Scientists Reveal a Potent Anti-Inflammatory Molecule

Аsthma is a common health issue and although there’s therapy for it, there’s always a need to find better and even more efficient options. 

One promising finding offers hope for the people with the most serious cases of asthma. Namely, a team of researchers at the Trinity College in Dublin have discovered an inflammatory “off switch” molecule that may be of aid.

The shortness of breath is a common issue among asthma sufferers and it’s a result of inflammation in the airways. It’s usually the immunity’s overreaction to allergens such as pollution, smoke, dust, etc.

A Potent Anti-Inflammatory May Help with Severe Asthma

Previous research that was focused on a protein known as JAK1 found it to play a pivotal role in driving the immunity’s responses by signaling the immune cells (macrophages) to look for foreign bodies.

This protein is important; however, sometimes, it can overreact and overstimulate and lead to inflammation. This problem can manifest in plenty of conditions, including asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn’s. 

This is why JAK inhibitors are emerging as possible treatments.

The new study identified one JAK inhibitor that our body produces. This is a molecule known as itaconate and it has been found helpful for switching off inflammation by decreasing the overactivity of the macrophages.

It has this effect on the protein JAK1 and may therefore be a helpful method to decrease the inflammation linked with asthma. 

How Did the Researchers Come to this Discovery?

For the purposes of the study, the team tested an itaconate derivative called 4OI in mice with severe asthma that is known not to respond the best to the traditional anti-inflammatory steroid treatments. 

It reduced the JAK1 activation and lowered the severity of the condition in the laboratory mice. 

The head of the study, Dr. Marah Runtsch notes that they have high hopes that these new medicines based on itaconate will offer a new potential and a therapeutic approach to the treatment of severe asthma where the need for new treatments is high.