• Press Release

Unveiling Asthma's Molecular Secrets: How Blood Molecules Influence Airway Processes

New research from Mount Sinai identifies key molecules in blood and nasal passages that play a pivotal role in asthma development and progression

  • New York, NY
  • (September 20, 2023)

A new study by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has unraveled the intricate molecular interplay between systemic processes within the blood and localized processes within the airways of individuals with asthma.

This pioneering research opens doors to potential novel treatments targeting specific molecules, with the aim of providing more effective relief for asthma patients. The research findings were published today in Genome Medicine.

The study, which examined 341 participants comprising individuals with persistent asthma and non-asthmatic controls, used advanced transcriptomic sequencing techniques to analyze blood and nasal samples. Through this comprehensive approach, the researchers unveiled crucial molecules and processes that hold the key to understanding asthma better. Within the blood, the NK cell granule protein and perforin emerged as central players. In the nasal passages, the G3BP stress granule assembly factor 1 and InaD-like protein took on pivotal roles. Notably, the study underscored the profound influence of blood molecules on asthma by virtue of their effects on nasal molecules.

Supinda Bunyavanich, MD, MPH, MPhil, the Mount Sinai Professor in Allergy and Systems Biology, Deputy Director of the Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Food Allergy Institute, and a senior author of the study, highlighted the importance of this holistic approach: "Our findings represent a groundbreaking connection between systemic factors in the bloodstream and localized factors in the airways, working collaboratively to drive asthma. This discovery marks a significant stride towards understanding core mechanisms of asthma, transcending the conventional focus on only the airways."

However, Dr. Bunyavanich also sounded a note of caution, saying, "While these revelations provide invaluable insights into the molecular framework of asthma, it's imperative to acknowledge that further research is needed before these breakthroughs can translate into immediate therapies."

Key Highlights:

  • The study offers an integrated perspective on the intricate relationship between systemic processes and airway-specific mechanisms in asthma.
  • Prominent blood molecules, including the NK cell granule protein and perforin, appear to exert their influence on asthma through their interactions with nasal molecules like the G3BP stress granule assembly factor 1.
  • The findings chart a path for future research endeavors, guiding the development of targeted asthma therapies that modulate these specific molecules.
  • Given that asthma affects millions globally, the implications of this research are far-reaching. This study paves the way for a deeper comprehension of the disease, instilling optimism for the emergence of more efficacious therapeutic strategies in the foreseeable future.

For more details, read the full study in Genome Medicine.

This study was funded supported by the National Institutes of Health grant R01 AI118833.

About the Mount Sinai Health System

Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with more than 43,000 employees working across eight hospitals, over 400 outpatient practices, nearly 300 labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time — discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.

Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 7,300 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 joint-venture outpatient surgery centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. We are consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals, receiving high "Honor Roll" status, and are highly ranked: No. 1 in Geriatrics and top 20 in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology/Lung Surgery, Rehabilitation, and Urology. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 12 in Ophthalmology. U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” ranks Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital among the country’s best in several pediatric specialties.

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