The brain may be a new therapeutic target for improving breathing following lung injury in COVID-19 patients, according to study in rats
New research published in The Journal of Physiology suggests that lung injury is not limited to the lungs. Targeting the part of the brain that controls breathing and blood flow might help patients with respiratory disorders, such as lung injury due to COVID-19, and speed the process of weaning patients from mecha
With respiratory infections like COVID-19 or other pulmonary infections, activation of the immune system is part of the normal, healthy response. However, in some cases the inflammatory response is so powerful that it leads to further lung damage called acute lung injury (ALI) and in its most severe form acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Typical clinical care of patients with ALI and ARDS is focused on minimizing further lung damage using specialised forms of mechanical ventilation.
This new study suggests that the injury is not limited to the lungs, but may also have a lasting impact on the central control of respiration. Thus, targeting the parts of the brain that regulate our breathing might be an important therapy
Currently, ALI and ARDS therapy focuses on the lu
These scientists then examined what happens in conscious lung injured rodents when they introduced non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs within the central nervous system. They found that this treatment reduced neural inflammation and minimized the effects of lung injury. These findings suggest that brainstem circuits play a role in the pathophysiology and potential recovery of the respiratory system following lung injury and ARDS.
Commenting on the study, first author Yee-Hsee Hsieh said:
“Clinical treatment for respiratory illnesses typicall