Epithelium-fibroblast interactions in response to allergic airway inflammation [ 2000 - 2002 ]

Also known as: How does the airway repair itself following damage?

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Prof Darryl Knight (Principal investigator)

Brief description The airways of an asthmatic patient undergo dramatic structural changes over time. This remodelling is thought to be responsible for producing the changes in lung function that are frequently observed in someone with the disease. However, in contrast to normal wound repair, it is unclear why in the majority of asthmatics, inflammation leads to ongoing remodelling rather than a self limiting healing process. In this context, cells that line the airways (epithelium) as well as cells that sit immediately beneath them (fibroblasts) are important sources of mediators and structural matrix proteins that contribute to these processes. Under normal conditions, signals from these structural proteins are transmitted to the cells via specific adhesion molecules. However, in asthma epithelial cells are frequently damaged and detached, and fibroblasts appear to proliferate and undergo changes in their appearance. This projects aims to investigate the expression and function of specific cell adhesion molecules in the epithelium and fibroblasts following airway inflammation. Specifically, this proposal aims to determine which adhesion molecules are associated with upregulated proliferation and production of matrix proteins. We will also examine the effects of two novel mediators, thought to play a role in remodelling on the expression and function of these adhesion molecules. Proliferation of these cells and the altered deposition of matrix proteins may be a key feature of airway wall thickening and hyperreactivity that is a characteristic feature of asthma. The balance of deposition and breakdown of matrix proteins is regulated by a variety of mediators. Defining what regulates the expression and activity of adhesion molecules is of fundamental importance in determining how the normal repair processes may evolve into airway wall remodelling.

Funding Amount $AUD 235,526.10

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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