Enzyme Can Start Process That Leads to Tissue Scarring Being Reversed, Study Shows

Enzyme Can Start Process That Leads to Tissue Scarring Being Reversed, Study Shows

An enzyme can start a chain of events that leads to cells involved in tissue scarring reversing their fibrosis-generating activity, British and American researchers have discovered.

The study dealt with the enzyme’s effect on myofibroblasts — cells involved in wound healing and inflammatory response. The discovery could lead to new therapies for the lung scarring disease pulmonary fibrosis and other fibrotic disorders, researchers said.

The study, “Nuclear hyaluronidase 2 drives alternative splicing of CD44 pre-mRNA to determine profibrotic or antifibrotic cell phenotype,” appeared in the journal Science Signaling.

Fibrosis is the excessive growth, hardening, or scarring of connective tissue due to inflammation. It can cause permanent organ damage and chronic diseases such as pulmonary and cardiac fibrosis, asthma, atherosclerosis, cirrhosis, and scleroderma.

Researchers from Wales and the U.S. wanted to know more about the cell surface protein CD44’s role in fibrosis. Scientists have linked faulty versions of the protein not only to fibrosis disorders, but also to cancer, blood vessel diseases, wound healing problems, and immune system dysfunction.

CD44 plays a number of roles in the body. One way it does this is through alternative splicing, or creating different molecules of messenger RNA from the same gene when protein is produced.

Scientists say CD44 is a receptor for a molecule called hyaluronan. The British and American researchers discovered that hyaluronidase 2, an enzyme that breaks down hyaluronan, regulates CD44 gene splicing in myofibroblasts’ nucleus. The leads to a variation of CD44 called CD44v7/8.

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While CD44 prompts fibrosis-promoting myofibroblasts to differentiate, or develop into specialized versions of themselves, CD44v7/8 prevents and reverses their differentiation.

This was a surprising finding because scientists had previously thought that hyaluronidase 2 was involved only in the breakdown of sugar chains. “We were amazed to discover that the protein [hyaluronidase 2] can bind to RNA in a cell and alter its activity,” Soma Meran, the study’s senior author, said in a press release.

“In the case of the cells responsible for fibrosis and scar formation, we can potentially use this technique to stop them from producing scar tissue,” Meran said. “This opens up exciting new research avenues in the study of fibrosis.”

The team is particularly interested in finding ways to prevent and reverse chronic kidney disease. The disorder, which is difficult to treat, accounts for around 3 percent of Britain’s National Health Service budget. Many patients require dialysis or kidney transplants, which carry a high risk of complication.

Now the scientists plan to study hyaluronidase 2’s structure for clues to how it influences protein production. The ultimate goal is to develop therapies with synthetic proteins that mimic the enzyme’s beneficial effects.

39 comments

  1. Chuck T says:

    Absolutely I would desire to know more about this enzyme.
    I Have sarcoidosis of the lungs and get winded very easily.
    I have been taking serrapeptase for several years as I believed it to help break down scar tissue. But upon viewing my last chest x Ray, my MD said concerning the serrapeptase “ I believe you have received wrong information. Yes I would try this new enzyme.

  2. Mary Tiller says:

    I have interstitial fibrosis! I was diagnosed in 2009! I am on oxygen and lung function is in the 40’s. Please let me know if this might help me.

  3. Tyrone Sannicolas says:

    I have inerstical lung disease and hardening of the lungs I am on a 20 liter flow at rest of oxygen. Any movement and my saturation just plummets. Can you please help me.

  4. Peggy kettunen says:

    Very interested in this study. Currently on serracor and serrapeptase enzymes since Jan of 2016. How do i find out more info?

  5. May Mya Win says:

    This would certainly be a breakthrough. It could reverse the scarring, reduce lung stiffness and increase vital capacity.
    Available medications only halt fibrosis reduce progression somewhat.
    But what are the adverse effects?
    It is so interesting and I would like to know more.

  6. Patricia Vincent says:

    Am in the process of being tested for lung fibrosis. I would be interested in any information or study that can help me

  7. Liaq says:

    I would like to know more regrading the success of this research , as my mother has this illness and i hope she can avoid lung transplant.

  8. Victoria Price says:

    Count me in plz! 48 and on full time Oxygen therapy. 5 liters.
    Please call myself or my power of attorney. I have gotten into A-mazing shape. Mind, body and spirit. I have sought counseling and pulmonary rehab. My goal is to be 100% eligible for a lung transplant. I would much rather do clinical trials.
    Sincerely,
    Victoria Price
    [email protected]
    4424004617
    Sandra Hall, POA
    [email protected]
    9092774025

  9. Judy Wagner says:

    Please enroll my husband in a trial. He was diagnosed with IPF in June 2018. We live in Helena MT. We are willing to travel. Presently he is on ofev. This drug has rough side effects. For now it would be desirable for him to stay on ofev while doing a trial. He is on O2 3L. We are very frustrated that no trials have been available for us. Thanks!

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