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Researchers at the University of Bonn have extracted a new active ingredient for asthma from leaves of the coral berry (Ardisia crenata). In mice, the active ingredient almost completely prevents the characteristic cramping of the bronchi.
The leaves of the coral berry contain a substance with the cryptic name FR900359. Researchers have now been able to show that this substance appears to be extremely effective in preventing the bronchial muscles from contracting - and it appears to be more effective and long-term than the common asthma drug salbutamol. So far, however, the substance has only been tested on mice suffering from asthma.
FR900359 inhibits a central group of signaling molecules in the body's cells, the Gq proteins. These play a key role in many processes in the body - including in the control of the bronchial muscles.
Usually, the interaction of different signaling pathways causes the airways to narrow. If you inhibit some of them, you can alleviate the cramping of the respiratory tract. However, it cannot be completely eliminated in patients with severe asthma. The signals converge on the Gq proteins and activate them. Only then is the bronchial spasm initiated. If the activation of the Gq proteins is inhibited with FR900359, a far stronger effect can therefore be achieved.
However, it is not said whether the substance is also suitable for use in humans. The scientists have already been able to show that human bronchial muscle cells in the culture dish and isolated human respiratory tract react similarly promisingly. However, further test series are necessary for use on living people.