The Role of the Alternaria Secondary Metabolite Alternariol in Inflammation
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Allergic inflammatory disorders of the airway like asthma and atopic asthma are complex, often long-term diseases that generate large public health and socioeconomic footprints especially in developed countries like US, UK and Australia. In 2009, approximately 8.2%, 24.6 million people in United States were affected by asthma. Currently 235 million people are affected by asthma worldwide and about 90% of those have allergic (atopic) asthma. An important factor in patients with allergic respiratory tract diseases is sensitization to fungi. Other risk factors for asthma include inhaled allergens that irritate the airways. Up to 70% of mold allergic patients have skin test reactivity to Alternaria. Alta1, an allergen produced by A. alternata also produces a prolonged and intense IgE mediated reaction in sensitized patients. Therefore A. alternata is not only a risk factor in development of asthma but also can lead to exacerbation of severe and potentially lethal asthma than any other fungus. Despite the well-documented clinical importance of Alternaria in allergic airway diseases, little knowledge exists about the role of individual fungal genes and gene products in theses pathological states besides a small repertoire of allergens and proteolytic enzymes. Moreover, the importance of small, secreted molecules of fungal origin has not been explored whatsoever in regards to immune responses triggered by Alternaria. This study addresses the hypothesis that Alternaria derived small molecule's have immune modulatory properties. A major thrust of this project was to assess the role of Alternaria secondary metabolites that are synthesized by genes called polyketide synthases (PKS) in immune responses of lung epithelial cells.
- Masters Theses