Oklahoma Researchers May Have the Missing Link to Pulmonary Fibrosis

When it comes to treating a chronic and serious disease like idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. Or, as in this case micro fibrosis with microRNA.

According to Pulmonary Fibrosis News, researchers at Oklahoma State University published their report this month demonstrating that one form of microRNA (101) is potentially an effective treatment for pulmonary fibrosis. RNA is the genetic stuff that regulates gene and protein expression.

For the more than 100,000 people in the U.S. who suffer from this disease, a discovery that demonstrates promise brings hope. an anti-fibrotic microRNA and a potential therapeutic target for pulmonary fibrosis. For unknown reasons, the lungs of people with this insidious disease produce an increased amount of collagen in the lungs, creating fibrous scar tissue that inhibits the ability to intake oxygen.

If preliminary findings are correct, small RNA molecules are to blame. But not all microRNA is made equal. One type, microRNA 101, is now thought to be an anti-fibrotic RNA which could keep harmful fibroblasts at bay.

“Adenovirus-mediated miR-101 gene transfer in the mouse lung attenuated bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis and improved lung function,” the researchers reported in the paper they published this month in the Journal of Biologic Chemistry. “Our data suggest that miR-101 is an anti-fibrotic microRNA and a potential therapeutic target for pulmonary fibrosis.”

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