Contrary to popular belief, allergies may not be the cause of asthma in children, a new research in Western Australia has found.
The study, conducted at Perth's Princess Margaret Hospital, suggests that cell abnormalities in the airways may be the cause of asthma.
Research program head Stephen Stick and colleagues are studying epithelial cells, which line the airways in the lung, and comparing them in children with and without asthma and allergy.
Stick said the epithelial cells in kids with asthma behaved differently, especially in the way they responded to injury.
"All the surfaces of the body are subject to wear and tear and the lining of the airways is no exception. It appears however, that the lining of the airways in asthma are defective in the way they repair," News.com.au quoted him as saying.
Stick said the research aimed to uncover the mechanism of that defect.
He said that in the past, there had been a focus on the strong relationship between allergy and asthma.
But only a minority of people with allergies ever got asthma, he said.
"This suggests that some other factor, specific to the asthmatic, must be at work," he said.
Stick said he hoped to identify the problem associated with epithelial repair, which could not only help the study of asthma, but also the medical approach to inflammatory diseases.