Friday, February 14, 2014

Study: Breathing in smoke at home impairs child’s response to asthma treatment

Children exposed to cigarette smoke at home have lower levels of an enzyme that helps them respond to asthma treatment, a study has found.

Passive smoking is known to worsen asthma symptoms in children and impair their response to inhaled steroid treatment, but how this effect occurs was not known.

Researchers at Imperial College London found that children with severe asthma with a parent who smokes at home have lower levels of the enzyme HDAC2 compared with those whose parents don’t smoke. HDAC2 is required for steroids to exert their beneficial anti-inflammatory effects in asthma.

Professor Peter Barnes FRS, from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London, said: “The mechanism we’ve identified makes children less sensitive to inhaled steroid treatment, so they suffer more symptoms and might have to take higher doses of steroids, which may lead to side effects.

“These findings underline the importance of legislation aimed at protecting children from being exposed to cigarette smoke. Restricting smoking in cars is a positive step, but the same should be applied in homes.”
The findings are reported in the journal Chest.

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