Asthma is a common respiratory disease that affects the airways of the lungs. It characterizes itself with persistent inflammation that causes reoccurring symptoms. Symptoms include wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, etc. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), asthma has been diagnosed within 27 million Americans.
Over the years, there have been multiple factors identified as the causes of asthma, including genetics, early allergen exposure, and others, although a single cause is yet to be identified. Instead, a long list of triggers has been offered to the public. This list includes irritants in the air, such as fumes, odors, and smoke, emotions, such as crying, shouting, and even laughing, and others. Recently, science has shown that the famous herpes virus, or a single expression gene, to be more precise, can also be identified as a biomarker, increasing the severity of asthma among the patients with persistent asthma.
Science identifies herpesvirus entry mediator gene expression as asthma severity biomarker
A study published recently, in The Journal of Asthma, has looked into the possibility of the herpesvirus entry mediator gene expression being the potential biomarker of asthma severity in patients who have been diagnosed with persistent asthma.
For the study, the researchers were looking into data that was gathered during the evaluation process of a total of 59 patients. Of those, 16 were diagnosed with mild asthma, 11 with moderate persistent asthma, 13 with severe persistent asthma, whereas the rest 19 were healthy control individuals. The researchers were curious to find out not only whether the herpesvirus entry mediator gene expression could be a potential biomarker, but also it would show the same results among patients with different severity levels of asthma as well.
Different tests have been done in order to gather as much information as possible for each group. And so, collected and analyzed was the data collected among the asthma patients by completing an Asthma Control Test score, total blood white cell count, total immunoglobulin E level, pulmonary function test, and others. The patients were divided into four groups – those with mild asthma, moderate asthma, severe asthma, and the healthy control group.
The study aimed to determine the correlation between herpes virus entry moderator (HVEM) expressions among each of the groups. What the results have revealed were higher HVEM mRNA expressions in those with severe and moderate persistent asthma as compared to those with mild asthma and those participants who have not been diagnosed with asthma in the past.
The results allowed the researchers to conclude that the HVEM gene expression can be used as a potential biomarker to determine the severity of a case of asthma. However, that would be possible only in cases of moderate and severe persistent asthma, as the results have shown as well.