Eosinophil as a target for pathophysiological factors and pharmacological compounds (Pehmeäkantinen kirja)

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Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by the accumulation of eosinophils into the airways in most phenotypes. Eosinophils release factors that damage the surrounding cells, induce bronchoconstriction and participate in the maintenance and exacerbation of inflammation.

Eosinophils play an important role especially in asthma exacerbations. The number of eosinophils in tissues is regulated by their release from bone marrow, migration into tissues and by their removal by apoptosis or programmed cell death. In the absence of any inflammatory survival-prolonging factors, eosinophils die via apoptosis within a few days but in the presence of factors such as interleukin (IL)-5, IL-3 and granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) their life-span can be prolonged for up to 1-2 weeks. Pharmacological agents that induce eosinophil apoptosis are therefore regarded as a natural treatment option for asthma. The induction of eosinophil apoptosis is a critical mechanism of action of glucocorticoids, the most important anti-inflammatory drug used today to treat asthma. Orazipone is a novel candidate drug for the treatment of inflammatory diseases, such as asthma and it was investigated in the present study for its effects on eosinophil apoptosis.
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