Asthma: Cytokine-Induced Over-Expression of Matrix Metalloproteases Compromises Airway Epithelium Tight Junctions and a Clinical Case Study
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Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that results in a constriction of the airways. While there is no known cause of the disease, one possible theory of the molecular cause of asthma is that the tight junctions of the airway epithelium are disrupted as a result of cytokine activity that up regulates expression of matrix metalloprotease 9. MMP9 encourages detachment-induced cell death—anoikis—which results in a structural change compromising the airway epithelium’s ability to act as a primary immune defense mechanism. The chronic characterization of asthma results because of an ineffective epithelial repair mechanism which prevents full recovery of the affected airway tissues thus allowing for further aggravation by environmental pathogens. Further investigation of this pathway could potentially allow for improvement in treatment and perhaps even the identification of a cure. First, a detailed background of the disease will be introduced in chapter 1. The following chapter will provide a literature review focused on the mechanism by which matrix metalloprotease 9 results in a compromised airway epithelium (and thus increased susceptibility to environmental pathogens). Lastly, chapter 3 will comprise of a clinical case study regarding the diagnosis and treatment of asthma.