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Thesis: The role of the extracellular matrix in the two distinct pathologies of COPD

Ricken, K.W.L.M. (2017) Thesis: The role of the extracellular matrix in the two distinct pathologies of COPD. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disease that annually kills over 3 million people worldwide. COPD is a general term for two distinct pathologies: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Chronic bronchitis is characterized by irreversible obstruction of airway flow, due to stiffening of the airway walls, accumulation of mucus in the bronchiole, due to an increase in goblet cells and hypertrophic submucosal glands and hypertrophy of the airway walls as a result of airway fibrosis. Emphysema is mainly characterized by the destruction of alveolar walls and therefore loss of gas exchange. In both types of COPD the architectural structure of the airway is altered. Since the architectural structure and function of the lung is mainly determined by the extracellular matrix, it could play a major role in both pathologies of COPD. The aim of this paper is therefore to investigate the role of the ECM in the two different subtypes of the COPD pathology. Function and structure of important components and regulators of the ECM were investigated and possible altered expression in the COPD pathologies were determined. The results indicate that alterations in the regulation of ECM contribute to the manifestation of the two distinct pathologies. In chronic bronchitis especially the TGF- β/Smad signalling pathway seems of importance. Over activation of this pathway results in heightened gene expression of ECM proteins and leads eventually to the excessive build-up of ECM, as seen in airway walls in chronic bronchitis. Imbalance in MMPs and TIMPs plays a massive role in the destruction of alveolar walls as observed in emphysema. Treatment for COPD is currently lacking and with the rising number of patients affected by this disease, it has become a huge problem. Future studies should be able to uncover the role of ECM components and regulation in the pathology of chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 08:30
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 08:30

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