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Drugs Used To Treat Lung Disease Work According To Body Clock

Update Date: Jul 28, 2014 02:32 PM EDT
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Drugs widely used to treat lung diseases work in accordance to body clock, a new study has found. 

The findings also explain why medication to treat asthma and pneumonia can become ineffective. 

In the UK, pneumonia affects around 1 in 1000 adults every year. It is more serious for babies, young children, the elderly, smokers and those with underlying health condition.

Cells lining the lung airways have their own body clock which acts as time-keeper for lung inflammation, the study found. Researchers also discovered that more severe lung inflammation is a result of the loss of the body clock working in these cells. 

"We found a key molecule known as CXCL5 that facilitates lung inflammation which is a key regulator of how immune cells get into tissues. The loss of CXCL5 completely prevents the time of day regulation of lung inflammation which opens up new ways to treat lung diseases," Prof Andrew Loudon from The University of Manchester said in the press release.

Researchers also uncovered how glucocorticoid hormones from the adrenal gland are important in controlling the level of inflammation in the cells lining the airway. 

"This hormone works through the glucocorticoid receptor, a major regulator of gene expression. We wanted to find out therefore if glucocorticoid medicines, like prednisolone or dexamethasone would also show a time of day effect, and our research shows they do," Professor David Ray said.

Researchers concluded that the rhythm of the clock in the lining of the cells in the lungs is vital for lung diseases like asthma and other chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 

"In this work we define a major circadian control on lung inflammation which affects responses to bacterial infection, or pneumonia. We know that many lung diseases indeed show a strong time of day effect, including asthma, and deaths from pneumonia," Prof Loudon added. 

"We live in a world that is divided into day and night. As a result our behavior varies by time of day; we sleep at night, and are active, and eat during the day. Increasingly our lives are disconnected from this ancient rhythm, with artificial light, shift work, and jet lag," concluded Professor Ray in the press release.

The findings of the study has been published in the journal Nature Medicine.

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