Monday, May 20, 2013

Compounds in Ginger and Sunshine Vitamin may help to Treat Patients of Asthma otherwise Difficult to Treat

Ginger has a great presence in Indian kitchens. Its role in relieving sore throat as a household remedy is also well recognised. Now, it has made its presence felt in treatment of asthma.
Researchers from Columbia University have shown that that adding compounds derived from ginger synergistically act with the drugs used for bronchodilatation, viz. long acting B2 agonists and corticosteroids.

English: Ginger
English: Ginger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
According to a report of Indian Council of Medical Research recently, 13 million people aged 15 years and above suffer from asthma in India; and this is a huge burden.
The active compounds like [6]-gingerol, [8]-gigenrol and [6]-shogaol found in ginger induce relaxation of airway smooth muscles (ASM), thereby causing bronchodilatation.
Data show that ginger and its isolated active components, [6]-gingerol, [8]-gingerol and [6]-shogaol relax ASM, and [8]-gingerol attenuates airway hyperresponsiveness, in part by altering [Ca(2+)] regulation.
Cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) has a critical role in several physiological functions of body. A large number of studies have elucidated the fundamental role of cAMP in the cellular response to many hormones and neurotransmitters.
Cyclic adenosine 3′,5′-monophosphate (cAMP) was the first identified second messenger for several effects to take place.
The level of intracellular cAMP is regulated by the balance between the activity of two types of enzyme: adenylyl cyclase (AC) and the cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase (PDE). 
Both enzymes are encoded by a large number of genes, which differ in their expression patterns and mechanisms of regulation.
PDE is elevated in the cell in response to inflammation. Elevated PDE level causes break down of cAMP. As cAMP is required for relaxation of respiratory smooth muscles that is less or no longer available, there occurs a problem in relaxation of muscles.
PDE inhibitors increase levels of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) through inhibition of its metabolism and ease the relaxation of the smooth muscles; and help asthmatics in breathing comfortably.
Current management of COPD requires an incremental approach in which patients are first treated with bronchodilators (beta-adrenergic receptor agonists or anticholinergic agents), which can be followed by anti-inflammatory treatment (inhaled or oral corticosteroids) if needed.
It has been seen that that patients with asthma had much higher levels of (Inter-leukine 17A) IL-17A than those without asthma and patients with steroid resistant asthma expressed the highest levels of IL-17A.
In this situation when steroids were unable to lower the production of IL-17A in cells from patients with asthma, vitamin D significantly cut the production of IL-17A in cells from all patients; seen in another study.
The active compounds in ginger and Vitamin D could potentially provide an effective add-on treatment for all asthma sufferers, reducing the amount of steroid-based medicines prescribed.
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