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‘Cellular autophagy dysfunction causes chronic sinusitis’

Lee Han-soo  Published 2018.02.09  18:00  Updated 2018.02.12 13:07

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Researchers at Asan Medical Center (AMC) have proved that cellular autophagy dysfunction directly affects the recurrence and worsening of chronic sinusitis, the hospital said Friday.

Professors Kim Hun-sik (left) and Professor Jang Yong-ju

Chronic sinusitis is a condition in which the cavities around nasal passages (sinuses) become inflamed and swollen for at least 12 weeks. Such inflammation interferes with drainage and causes mucus buildup making it hard for the patient to breathe through his nose. Cellular autophagy is an activity in which a cell lacking nutrients dissolves its protein or removes unnecessary cellular components to obtain energy.

The research team, led by Professors Kim Hun-sik and Jang Yong-ju of the life science department at the hospital, identified the problem with cell autophagy function in rats with chronic sinusitis and confirmed that such impairment of the function exacerbates chronic sinusitis.

The researchers observed that deficiencies in the cellular autophagy functions affected the macrophages responsible for immunity among the various types of bone marrow cells. The team also found 50 percent of the inflammatory disorders were significantly alleviated when they eliminated the macrophages that lacked autophagy functions.

Through this research, medical professionals will now have a better understanding of the pathogenesis of intractable chronic sinusitis with frequent relapses, while helping to develop a new therapy that can control the autophagy of myeloid immune cells in chronic sinusitis, the hospital said.

Also, the team expects that such treatment will be applicable in the development of drugs that treat other autophagy-related respiratory diseases such as asthma.

“There was a lack of research into the subject, even though autophagy function of cells plays a major role in the development of a variety of inflammatory diseases as it regulates immune responses, such as the activation of immune cells and inflammatory responses,” Prof. Kim said. “Our research became the first study highlighting the role and importance of cellular autophagy in patients with chronic sinusitis.”

Professor Jang also said, “Although studies have been conducted worldwide to find a treatment for chronic sinusitis, the cause of the disease has not been established making it difficult to develop a new treatment. Through this study, we have come to understand a new aspect of the cause of recurrent chronic sinusitis, which will be of great help in developing drugs for recurrent sinusitis.”

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology published the results of the study.

corea022@docdocdoc.co.kr

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