Skip to main content

In search of new asthma therapies

Aug. 15, 2016, 8:00 AM

Inhaled beta-agonists – drugs that relax constricted airway smooth muscle – are the mainstay of asthma therapy. Some patients, however, do not respond to these drugs.

Previous studies demonstrated that the protein HSP20 is part of the beta-agonist signaling cascade and mediates relaxation of airway smooth muscle. Padmini Komalavilas, Ph.D., and colleagues, have now explored the effects of a cell-permeable peptide (P20) that mimics the action of HSP20.

They demonstrated that P20 relaxed isolated airway smooth muscle and blocked the actions of a contractile drug. In isolated smooth muscle and cultured airway cells, they found that P20 regulated the actin cytoskeleton. They showed that inhaled delivery of P20 reduced airway hyper-responsiveness in vivo in a mouse model of allergic airway disease with features of human asthma.

The results, reported in the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, demonstrate that P20 peptide reduces airway hyper-contractility via mechanisms that bypass beta-receptors. The P20 peptide may be a potential therapeutic for asthma that is refractory to beta-agonists.

This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants HL122735, AI111820, AI095227, HL090664, HL122554, AI121420, TR000445) and in part by resources and materials from the Veterans Affairs Tennessee Valley Healthcare System.

Send suggestions for articles to highlight in Aliquots and any other feedback about the column to aliquots@vanderbilt.edu

Recent Stories from VUMC News and Communications Publications

The first few minutes of Charlie’s life were a blur, as a team of doctors and nurses at VUMC worked to resuscitate him and stabilize his heart rate. He was then transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Hope

The first few minutes of Charlie’s life were a blur, as a team of doctors and nurses at VUMC worked to resuscitate him and stabilize his heart rate. He was then transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Tucked away in a Vanderbilt conference room, 36 adults huddle over Lego pieces. Eleven teams have been assigned to assemble multicolored Legos using the written directions included in the packet. The result should be a Frankenstein figure.

Vanderbilt Nurse

Tucked away in a Vanderbilt conference room, 36 adults huddle over Lego pieces. Eleven teams have been assigned to assemble multicolored Legos using the written directions included in the packet. The result should be a Frankenstein figure.

Marissa Benchea has CF, and she is one of hundreds of thousands of adults not only surviving but thriving with a chronic childhood disease.

Vanderbilt Medicine

Marissa Benchea has CF, and she is one of hundreds of thousands of adults not only surviving but thriving with a chronic childhood disease.

One hundred years ago, multiple “waves” of a deadly flu swept across the world.

Vanderbilt Medicine

One hundred years ago, multiple “waves” of a deadly flu swept across the world.

more