Joshua Mezrich, MD
Research Awards Nationwide Recipient (2013-2015)
University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Funded in Partnership with the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest
Preventing Environmentally Triggered Asthma Flareups
Research has shown that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) may be responsible for aggravating asthma through the activation of the of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR). This activation leads to the generation of a pathogenic population of T cells that generates IL-17, which in turn, worsen airway inflammation in some models. Dr. Mezrich and his team believe that this represents a new, very specific mechanism for airway inflammation in response to pollution. Their goal is to prove this mechanism is dependent on the AHR in T cells in murine models of airway inflammation, to identify whether PAHs are causing this effect, and also show that they can block or at least reduce this inflammatory response by modulating the response of the AHR on these T cells.