The newly discovered type of cell in human lungs plays an important role in the proper functioning of these organs. Their discovery may make it easier to find ways to combat lung disease.
The new cells were named “respiratory airway secretory cells”., RAS for abbreviation. They are found in the bronchioles and alveoli. This is where gas exchange takes place – hemoglobin loses the carbon dioxide attached to it, binding to the oxygen in the air.
RAS cells are similar to stem cells that can grow into other types of cells. In the lungs, they transform into type II lung cells. This allows you to replace damaged cells with new ones.
It has been known for some time that Human lung cells are different from mouse cells, says the professor. Edward Morrissey of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. However, only the latest technology allowed us to get acquainted with it. A new type of cell was discovered by taking tissue samples and analyzing its genetic code. The research shows that there are still unknown cells among them.
The researchers found that RAS cells are also found in rodents. Researchers assume that Small mammals do not have such cells. They are only found in larger species.
Researchers think that the type of cell they newly discovered may play a role Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Chronic inflammation occurs in this disease, often caused by many years of smoking (less inhalation of dust). Lung tissue damage, making breathing difficult. The disease is incurable – it is only possible to slow its progression and increase the patient’s quality of life.
Since they can regenerate lung cells, the newly discovered RAS cells should theoretically prevent such diseases. Researchers think they, too, should be harmed by smoking.
Perhaps in the future, the discovery of new cells could be used to treat COPD. For now, researchers are cautious. They only comment that it is a poorly understood disease. Each new discovery can help design a treatment for it.
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