The Ohio State University
Deepening Our Understanding of Immune System's Role in Asthma
The immune system normally protects against foreign bacteria and viruses. In asthma and other allergic diseases, the immune system can cause worsening symptoms. Asthma is widely considered to be a type of immune system response called “type 2,” which is linked strongly to allergic inflammation. Growing evidence indicates that inflammatory immune cells called monocyte and tissue macrophages influence the initiation, progression and resolution of type 2 immune responses. We will study a protein called FoxO1, which has a crucial role in a worsening type 2 immune responses. Understanding the role of FoxO1 and its effect on macrophages could lead to treatment approaches that will alleviate suffering and improve the health of patients with severe asthma.
Update: Recent work from our laboratory has identified FoxO1 transcription factor, a known modulator of immune functions, as a key regulator of immune cells called macrophages in mouse models of asthma. We found inhibiting FoxO1 significantly mitigated the functional changes associated with asthma. We expect that blocking FoxO1 will reduce a protein called IRF4, which the lead to the reduction of allergic inflammation in the airways. This will provide preclinical data to support a future study seeking a novel therapeutic benefit for difficult-to-control (refractory) asthma.