-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
TUESDAY, March 27 (HealthDay News) -- The common cold appears to
increase the number of "cough receptors" in the airways and makes
them more sensitive, which triggers coughing, wheezing and
breathlessness, a new study reports.
People with asthma are especially vulnerable to this
virus-induced coughing, said the researchers from Queen's
University Belfast. The cough receptors also are known as transient
receptor potential (TRP) receptors.
"TRP receptors respond to chemical and physical stimuli in the environment, such as pollutants in the air, a change in air temperature and some of the toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke," said Dr. Hani'ah Abdullah, one of the researchers. "Once activated, these receptors cause the individual to cough and wheeze."
The study's findings were slated for presentation Tuesday at the
Society for General Microbiology's spring meeting in Dublin,
"The increase in receptor numbers makes individuals more sensitive to environmental stimuli, making them more likely to suffer from prolonged bouts of coughing," Abdullah said in a society news release.
The researchers took airway cells from healthy people and others
with mild asthma and infected them with rhinovirus, the cause of
many common colds. They found the virus triggered an increase in
the number of cough receptors in the airway cells, particularly
among those with asthma.
The study authors said their findings could help scientists
develop drugs to effectively treat viral-induced coughing in those
with chronic lung diseases.
"It's feasible that therapies could be developed that block either the sensitivity of cough receptors or their increase in number," Abdullah said. "This would keep symptoms under control and ultimately improve the lives of asthmatics."
Research presented at medical meetings should be considered
preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides
more information on
the common cold.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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