April 2, 2013

© Takahisa Murata (Graduate School of Agriculture and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo)

Acute lung injury (ALI) is a severe disease that results from multiple causes including sepsis and toxic inhalation, and after cancer, heart disease and stroke is the major cause of death among the Japanese population. Since there are no specific pharmacologic therapies currently available, the mortality rate for ALI remains very high and there is an urgent need to elucidate in detail the underlying pathogenesis of ALI and develop new drugs to treat it.

Assistant Professor Takahisa Murata and his colleagues from the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Agriculture and Life Sciences have discovered an anti-inflammatory mediator in ALI. Prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) is produced in cell-to-cell interaction between lung parenchymatous cells and infiltrating immune cells upon ALI. Produced PGD2 stimulates its distinct receptor DP and then inhibits lung vascular permeability and immune cell infiltration. They also showed that treatment with a DP-stimulant reduces lung inflammation and improves survival rate. Their observations may lead to the development of new treatments for this currently intractable disease.

Paper information

Takahisa Murata, Kosuke Aritake, Yoshiki Tsubosaka, Toshihiko Maruyama, Takayuki Nakagawa, Masatoshi Hori, Hiroyuki Hirai, Masataka Nakamura, Shuh Narumiya, Yoshihiro Urade, and Hiroshi Ozaki, "Anti-inflammatory role of PGD2 in acute lung inflammation and therapeutic application of its signal enhancement," PNAS March 11, 2013. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1218091110.