University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Damage to Mitochondrial DNA May Trigger Inflammation in Airway Cells
Airway inflammation is the initial event in the development of several lung diseases. Although the connection between inhaled environmental pollutants and inflammatory lung disease is well established, we still do not fully understand what happens at the molecular level. We will study the role of mitochondrial DNA in inflammatory lung disease. Mitochondria are structures within cells that convert the energy from food into a form that cells can use. They have a small amount of their own DNA. We will study whether damage to mitochondrial DNA triggers the inflammatory response in airway epithelial cells. The findings may lead to new ways to prevent or treat inflammatory lung diseases.
Update: In Year 1 of the project, we made significant progress in the study of how damage to mitochondrial DNA triggers the inflammatory response in airway epithelial cells. We established a comprehensive picture of several critical mitochondrial and cellular functions in response to various levels of mitochondrial DNA damage.