Pathogenic airway macrophage adaptation in the chronically inflamed lung


  • Prof Tracy Hussell

    University of Manchester

Project summary

Macrophages are specialised cells that patrol the lungs, clearing harmless debris as well as dangerous microbes that enter the air spaces. Some people with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) fail to clear microbes which can lead to exaggerated disease, entry of microbes to the bloodstream (sepsis), hospitalisation, a reduction in life quality and, in a lot of cases, death. COPD is one of the most prevalent diseases in the world and accounts for a large amount of the overall health cost. Little progress has been made in its treatment and it is mainly managed by tackling symptoms.

We have identified that macrophages adapt depending on the needs of the lung and they are affected by past experiences. In most people this adaptation is beneficial. However, in patients with COPD or asthma, the ongoing attempt to repair the lung prevents normal macrophage activity. We aim to understand the processes leading to this adaptation so we can develop strategies to restore the normal status quo.

This study will help with strategies to treat patients with COPD and asthma.