COLUMBUS, Ohio – Cardiovascular
researchers at The Ohio State
University Wexner Medical Center have successfully used a protein known as
MG53 to treat acute and chronic lung cell injury. Additionally, application of
this protein proved to prevent lung cell injury. Results from this animal model
study were just published in the journal Nature Communications.
“This latest study demonstrates
that MG53 is expressed in the lungs and may be used to repair many types of
lung injuries,” Ma said.
Control animals that
lacked MG53 were more susceptible to injury caused by over-ventilation or re-oxygenation
when the blood supply returns following a lack of oxygen. In animals treated
with recombinant human MG53 (rhMG53), lung cells were protected from injury.
The treatment was
given both intravenously and by inhalation. Both delivery methods of the protein
therapy reduced symptoms of acute lung injury and chronic emphysema when
compared with control animals. Repeated doses improved lung structure in the animals
with chronic lung injury. Additionally, researchers noted significant reduction
in edema, hypoxemia and inflammatory markers.
“We need to do
further testing, but so far this therapy appears safe,” Ma said. “The human
body already makes small amounts of MG53 in blood circulation, so there is no
concern for allergic response. Additionally, we treated rodent models with a
dose 10 times higher than the effective dose with no adverse effects.”
Acute lung injury can
occur in critically ill patients where mechanical ventilation, reperfusion,
sepsis, trauma and shock can all lead to lung damage. If the cells cannot
repair themselves, it can develop into respiratory failure.
According to the
American Lung Association, approximately 36 million Americans live with chronic
lung disease, and could potentially benefit from a protein therapy that targets
“If treatment with
rhMG53 works in humans, the implications for patient care could be quite
significant,” Ma said. “It could prevent and repair heart and lung cell damage.
It could be used prior to surgeries to prevent damage and promote healing. It
could be used in an emergency department, by paramedics or on the battlefield
to treat traumatic injuries. We are hopeful as we now work to begin our clinical
According to Peter Mohler, director of Ohio
State’s Dorothy M. Davis Heart & Lung Research Institute, “This new work
from Jianjie’s team is an excellent example of the type of high-impact,
translational science that can occur when creative scientists, surgeons, and
cardiologists work closely together on a clinical problem. In this case, it is
truly exciting how a discovery in foundational cell biology can potentially
lead to new therapies for patients in the clinic.”
Professor Chunyu Zeng
from the Third Military Medical University in China co-directed the study with
Ma. The research team included additional collaborators from Merck Research Lab
and Kyoto University Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Japan.
This research was
supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.
Ma is the founder of
TRIM-edicine Inc., which holds the patent for MG53.
Media Contact: Marti
Leitch, Wexner Medical Center
Media Relations, 614-293-3737 or Marti.Leitch@osumc.edu