Study finds clue to why colds trigger asthma

The Mail Online reports how “a simple cold can set off a deadly asthma attack: Scientists discover chemical can send the immune system into overdrive”.

It is well known that in people with asthma, respiratory infections such as colds or flu can trigger asthma symptoms, and, in more serious cases, an asthma attack.

This study involved experiments in mice and humans to see exactly why this might be the case. In particular, the researchers wanted to find out how inflammatory processes might play a part.

They found in people with asthma, infection with the common cold virus (rhinovirus) causes an increase in levels of an inflammatory protein called IL-25 in the cells lining the airways.

This sets off a range of inflammatory processes, such as narrowing of the airways, which can cause asthma symptoms.

As the researchers suggest, the findings indicate using a drug to block IL-25 could prevent people with asthma getting worse symptoms if they catch a cold.

This research is in its early stages and further studies will now be needed to develop an IL-25-blocking drug for testing.