Better pulmonary protection of critical patients

Bruxelles Woluwe

The lung, and more generally the respiratory system, is very frequently failing in patients admitted to the emergency room. However, the physiopathological mechanisms involved in this failure are not completely known. Research in respiratory pathology in acute patients is currently articulated over 2 axes, through fundamental and translational research.

  1. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is a cause of very common respiratory failure in intensive care units. Up to 10% of ICU patients will develop an ARDS during their stay. This syndrome is characterized by a filling of the lung with plasma and inflammatory cells. These pulmonary parts can no longer play their role in oxygenating the blood and removing CO2. Although the role of pulmonary alveoli in the development of this syndrome has already been the subject of much research, the role played by the "conduction" airways, bronchi and bronchioles is much less known. However, bronchi and bronchioles are the first defense of the lung against infectious agents through the secretion of specific antibodies (immunoglobulin A) and proteins with antimicrobial activity. We are studying respiratory defense mechanisms in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome, with a focus on the IgA production, transport, and activity. The understanding of these mechanisms will lead to new therapeutic targets.
  2. A vast majority of ICU patients, in particular those with respiratory failure, require oxygen administration. However, oxygen can also be toxic for the epithelial cells covering bronchi, bronchioles and alveoli. We study the consequences of oxygenation conditions on the integrity, function, and inflammatory response of the bronchial cells. In particular, we investigate if their specific antibody (immunoglobulin A) and other anti-infective peptides production abilities are impacted by the oxygenation conditions as this can affect their ability to defend the lungs against viruses and bacteria.