Asthma symptoms such as mucus production, swelling (edema), and constriction of the airways in the lungs are alleviated with a signalling molecule. Blocking this molecule can offer better treatment for asthma, say researchers.
The international study, led by Dr Stephan Caucheteux, from Cardiff University's School of Medicine, believes their work could ultimately help asthma sufferers around the world.
‘Interleukin-1 is involved in regulating the balance between inflammatory and anti-inflammatory T cells type 2 which triggers asthma.’
Some 5.4million people in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma, including more than a million children.
The allergic immune response, which triggers the symptoms of asthma, is a complex process, which starts with the over-activation of a certain white blood cell, the allergen-specific helper T cells type 2.
"We found that by adding a signaling molecule, Interleukin 1 (IL-1) using an experimental model of allergic asthma, the symptoms would worsen dramatically," explained Dr Caucheteux.
"Therefore by blocking production of IL-1, we could alleviate the symptoms, such as mucus, swelling and constriction."
Dr Jeff Zhu, Chief of the Molecular and Cellular Immunoregulation Unit at the Laboratory of Immunology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said: "The finding that IL-1 is involved in regulating the balance between inflammatory and anti-inflammatory Th2 cells has not only significantly enhanced our basic knowledge on T cell biology, but also provided a potentially effective and novel strategy to treat asthma."