Kengo Koike, M.D., Ph.D.
National Jewish Health
Understanding Enzyme Involved in Development of COPD
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is usually caused by cigarette smoking. There is no cure, and the mechanisms behind the development and progression of the disease remain incompletely understood. We will study the process that produces fat-like substances called bioactive lipids in lung cells. The levels of these lipids, called sphingolipids are significantly changed in plasma of COPD patients who are prone to have inflammation episodes in their lung. By understanding a key enzyme that controls how much sphingolipid is synthesized, we can develop tools to reduce the chance for lung cells to be destroyed by smoke and ultimately decrease lung injury and inflammation caused by smoking.