Cold-like infections make 'cough receptors' in the airways more sensitive, making asthmatics more prone to bouts of coughing and wheezing, reveal scientists presenting their findings at the Society for General Microbiology's (SGM) Spring Conference in Dublin (March 2012). The work could lead to drugs that reduce virus-induced coughing in those suffering chronic lung diseases.
Asthmatics often report bouts of coughing, wheezing and breathlessness when they have a cold and there is no current medicine that sufficiently treats this problem. Researchers at Queen's University Belfast are investigating 'cough receptors' that line the cells of the airway and how these are affected by rhinovirus -- a virus frequently responsible for the common cold. The team showed that rhinovirus infection caused an increase in the number of these cough receptors- making the airways more sensitive.
The findings of this study may lead to new drugs that reduce virus-induced cough and wheeze in asthmatics and those with other chronic lung diseases.
For more details, see the SGM press release.