ID Admin: April 2007 Archives

Stomach Bacterium May Thwart Asthma

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h.pyloriApril 23, 2007 -- A stomach bacterium that causes ulcers and is linked to stomach cancer may make asthma less likely.

That news appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The bacterium is called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). It is associated with ulcers and increased risk of stomach cancer.

H. pylori is found worldwide, but it's more common in developing countries, note Yu Chen, PhD, MPH, and Martin Blaser, MD.

Inflammation, Asthma, and Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha

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tnf alpha diagramby Erwin W. Gelfand, MD

Patients with severe and refractory asthma suffer from numerous complications, fatal disease, and utilize a large proportion of healthcare resources. Treatment options are certainly limited, and it is unclear what underlies their refractoriness to conventional therapy. Whether they are "resistant" to therapy with glucocorticoids or the pathophysiologic pathways involved in their disease are not sensitive to glucocorticoids is unclear at present.

Some phenotypic differences in patients with refractory asthma have emerged, such as a greater involvement of neutrophils, but the relevance of these data are not clear. Among the candidates identified as perhaps playing a role in refractory asthma is tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), a pleiotropic inflammatory cytokine that is expressed in mast cells[1] and is present in higher concentrations in bronchoalveolar fluid from patients with asthma, particularly in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid from patients with more severe asthma.[2]