Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Why Are Older People More Susceptible to Fibrotic Lung Disease?
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a rapidly progressive, fatal lung disease that is more prevalent in the aging population. Glycolysis—the breakdown of glucose by enzymes—plays an important role in fibrosis, a lung injury caused by the development of fibrous connective tissue. A protein called glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1), the major glucose transporter in the lung, may have an important role in regulating lung fibrosis. We will investigate the mechanism by which GLUT1 regulates fibrosis. Our findings may provide a potential explanation for why older people are more susceptible to fibrotic lung disease. Our ultimate goal is to develop therapies for IPF based on targeting GLUT1 and molecular mechanisms that regulate it.
Update: We have demonstrated that glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1), the major glucose transporter in the lung, plays an important role in the development of lung fibrosis. Our preliminary findings show that the breakdown of glucose by enzymes, a process known as glycolysis, which is dependent on GLUT1 is critical for age-susceptible development of lung fibrosis in our mouse model. Work on these studies resulted in recent peer-reviewed publications in the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology and the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology.