Asthma, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Circadian Rhythm, Occupational Health, PNAS, Pulmonary Disease, Sleep Disorders / 11.09.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Frank Scheer, PhD, MSc Professor and Director of the Medical Chronobiology Program Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders Brigham and Women’s Hospital Steve Shea, PhD Professor and Director Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: For hundreds of years, people have observed that asthma severity often worsens in the nighttime. As many as 75 percent of people with asthma—20 million people in the U.S.—report experiencing worsening asthma severity at night. One longstanding question has been to what degree the body’s internal circadian clock—as opposed to behaviors, such as sleep and physical activities—contributes to worsening of asthma severity. Our research used long term intensive monitoring throughout two circadian protocols in dim light and without time cues to carefully isolate the influence of the circadian system from the other factors that are behavioral and environmental, including sleep. (more…)
Author Interviews, Flu - Influenza, Genetic Research, PNAS / 10.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jacob S. Yount, PhD Associate Professor Department of Microbial Infection and Immunity The Ohio State University, College of Medicine Co-Director, Viruses and Emerging Pathogens Program OSU Infectious Diseases Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Genetic defects in a human protein known as IFITM3 are linked to hospitalization and death upon influenza virus infections.  IFITM3 is an immune system protein that can inhibit virus entry into cells and it is produced as an early response to virus infections.  In order to better study the role of IFITM3 during infections, we engineered a mouse model that lacks this protein.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Multiple Sclerosis, Neurological Disorders / 12.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Dr. Patrick Küry Dept. of Neurology Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf Germany MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How do these viruses in our DNA differ from others such as the herpes family of viruses? Response: The background of our current two published studies is elucidating the role of endogenous retroviruses such as the HERV-W in contributing to neurological disease initiation and progression. Our new paper in PNAS (Kremer et al., PNAS 2019) describes a novel axon damage scenario for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in which a "toxic" protein called ENV from HERV-W instructs so called microglial cells in the human brain to attack and damage myelinated axons. Our second review article (Gruchot et al., Front Genet 2019) summarizes currently known effects on endogenous retroviruses exerted towards neural cells, that means cells other than the infiltrating immune cells. There is currently a shift of attention and research in the MS field in that resident neural cells such as oligodendrocytes, precursor cells, stem cells and microglial cells and their reactions are intensively investigated. HERVs are evolutionary acquired retroviruses (RNA viruses able to integrate into host DNA via reverse transcription from RNA to DNA) that were collected during evolution by our ancestors. Some of them remained in our genome (8% of our genome is HERV related) and in most cases appear to be non-functional, mutated or genetically silenced. A few of them, as for example HERV-W in MS or HERV-K in ALS, can apparently be activated, woken up so to say, and one of the mechanisms leading to activation might be an infection by Herpesviruses. Note that herpesviruses such as for example the Epstein Bar Virus (EBV) are long known suspected triggers of MS, however, a direct correlation could never be demonstrated. HERVs such as HERV-W might therefore constitute the missing link. (more…)