Title of Research Grant

The Role of NAD(P)H Oxidase and Transforming Growth Factor-Beta (TGF-) in Airway Hyperresponsiveness and Remodeling in Down Syndrome


Thomas M Murphy MD
Professor of Pediatrics with Tenure
Director, Pulmonary Fellowship Training
Duke University

Lay Summary of Research

Chronic bronchial problems associated with twitchy bronchial tubes is a major cause of hospitalization and ill health in children with Down syndrome (DS). Since it differs from ordinary asthma, we and colleagues in Utah are committed to determining how atypical inflammation leads to chronic lung and bronchial disease ion in DS. A novel and important inflammatory factor, transforming growth factor beta (TGF-?), has been found to play important roles in a number of chronic bronchial problems and has been found in large quantities in their airways. TGF-? appears to increase the difficulty of breathing by increasing the numbers of smooth muscle cells and their thickness in bronchial tubes. At the same time medicines given to animals to correct this problem can actually make the level of difficulty breathing worse, because of a relaxing effect of the TGF-? on the bronchial muscles. Only by determining both how the insides of the bronchial tubes are narrowed by muscle tissue growth and how TGF-? contributes to relaxation can effective therapies for this important potential cause of inflammation and breathing problems in DS.