Research Project: Airway Disease Due to Aberrant Matrix Remodeling After Neonatal Hyperoxia
basic biologic mechanisms
Premature infants are exposed to air and oxygen before their lungs are mature. They also get sicker when exposed to respiratory viral infections. This has public health implications due to increased health care utilization, rehospitalization, and other societal costs. Oxygen can change the structure and function of the lung, including in the extracellular matrix which supports the lung structure. The extracellular matrix proteins changed by oxygen can activate pathways that promote fibrosis, or abnormal lung repair, in response to a virus. This project looks at two groups of proteins in the extracellular matrix that are increased by oxygen and describes their role in virus severity and abnormal lung repair.
Update: We have found evidence of a direct correlation between the human and mouse hyperoxia (excess oxygen) models. Our lab has made novel discoveries centering on how neonatal hyperoxia reprograms the lung to respond differently to respiratory viral infections. It may provide insight into why former preterm infants are susceptible to respiratory viral infections, allowing for the development of new therapies to decrease respiratory morbidity.