Resolving Acute Lung Injury

by Dee on September 13, 2008

Individuals with a number of clinical conditions, including pneumonia, and those treated by mechanical ventilation for a prolonged period of time are at risk of acute lung injury, a life-threatening disorder for which there is no treatment. It is hoped that understanding the natural processes by which acute lung injury spontaneously resolves in some individuals might provide new therapeutic targets. Thus, Holger Eltzschig and colleagues, at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, suggest that their observation in mice with ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI) implicate the protein A2BAR as a potential therapeutic target for acute lung injury.

In the study, mice lacking A2BAR were found to have reduced survival time and more severe VILI, when compared with normal mice. Consistent with this, normal mice treated with an A2BAR antagonist exhibited more severe lung damage than untreated mice, whereas an A2BAR agonist attenuated the severity of VILI. Further analysis revealed that one way in which the A2BAR agonists helped was by enhancing the clearance of fluid in the lungs (i.e., they helped dry out the lungs). These data indicate that agonists of A2BAR are likely to be part of the natural mechanism by which acute lung injury spontaneously resolves and might make good therapeutics.

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