Home Medizin Bahnbrechende Entdeckung gibt Hoffnung auf Reduzierung von Infektionen bei Mukoviszidose-Patienten

Bahnbrechende Entdeckung gibt Hoffnung auf Reduzierung von Infektionen bei Mukoviszidose-Patienten

von NFI Redaktion

Researchers at the University of Queensland have identified a way to reduce infections in people with cystic fibrosis.

Professor Matt Sweet, Dr. Kaustav Das Gupta, and Dr. James Curson from the UQ Institute for Molecular Bioscience discovered a defect in the bactericidal function of immune cells in people with CF and found a potential way to bypass it.

CF is a chronic condition where defects in the CFTR (Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator) channel lead to mucus build-up in the lungs, airways, and digestive system, resulting in recurrent infections.

Professor Sweet stated that the team found that in people with cystic fibrosis, immune cells, known as macrophages, are defective in a zinc pathway that the body uses to kill bacteria.

One way that macrophages destroy bacteria is by poisoning them with toxic levels of metals like zinc.

We found that the CFTR ion channel is crucial for the zinc pathway, and its malfunction in people with CF could partially explain why they are more susceptible to bacterial infections.

Professor Matt Sweet, UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience

Importantly, the researchers also identified a zinc transport protein that can restore the ability of macrophages to kill bacteria when the CFTR protein is not functioning.

„Our goal now is to deliver this zinc transport protein to the macrophages of CF patients, hoping that it will reactivate their immune response and reduce infections,“ Professor Sweet said.

Around 3,600 Australians are living with cystic fibrosis, which can reduce life expectancy to an average of 47 years.

Professor Peter Sly from UQ’s Child Health Research Centre, a pediatric respiratory physician and a key project collaborator, stated that it is crucial to learn more about how CF affects the immune system for patient care.

„People with CF have a hyperinflammatory state in their airways and are highly susceptible to bacterial infections, but frequent antibiotic treatment can often lead to antibiotic-resistant infections,“ Professor Sly said.

„Current treatments can restore many aspects of CFTR function, but they do not resolve or prevent lung infections, so there is a need to restore immune functions.“

The study was conducted in collaboration with Professor Mark Schembri from the IMB and will be published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).


Journal reference:

Gupta, KD, et al. (2024). CFTR is required for zinc-mediated antibacterial defense in human macrophages. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2315190121.

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