Oxidative stress is defined as an excessive load of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which cause ongoing or reversible damage in the body. This can occur in individual cells, and in specific body organs, and can affect the health of patients at the whole body level.
Antioxidants can chemically react with ROS to quench and thus inactivate these reactive, damaging molecules. Cystic fibrosis is characterized by oxidative stress throughout the body and chronic inflammation in the lungs. Patients with CF are deficient in the body’s major anti-oxidant, glutathione (GSH). This is thought to be due to many reasons, including dietary insufficiency, but being the major anti-oxidant of the body, GSH is highly utilized in areas of oxidative stress and inflammation. GSH serves multiple functions and is utilized by cells to regulate physiological functions such as DNA transcription, RNA translation, and subsequent protein synthesis. It is utilized to regulate protein functions and is vital in regulating dietary absorption of nutrients, storage and availability of essential proteins and fatty acids.
Oxidation reactions are essential to fight infection and are generated when neutrophils ingest bacteria to rid the body of pathogens. For reasons still unclear, in CF, the environment in the airways is strongly pro-inflammatory. After neutrophils have been recruited, neutrophil-derived oxidants are released into the airways, and contribute to ongoing tissue destruction. Oxidants, which include hydrogen peroxide, hypochlorous acid, and other damaging particles called free radicals are released and create a vicious perpetual cycle of tissue destruction.
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Last week the annual CFRI conference was held in Redwood City California. For those of you who are not familiar with CFRI, it’s a terrific organisation that funds cystic fibrosis research, provides educational and personal support, and spreads awareness of cystic fibrosis.
Their website hosts a bunch of terrific content from research paper, presentations and key learnings to events and links with other key CF networks. It’s well worth your while getting on there and having a look. They also held a pediatric conference earlier in the year which had some incredible content specifically related to pediatrics. Do yourself a favour and get onto that content when you have a moment, its positive, uplifting but really informative. You can find that here
I travelled to the most recent conference last week which was fantastic. About 200 people went, a combination of speakers that included CF doctors and program directors, a physiotherapist, a social worker, an infection control expert and CF nurse / clinic co-ordinator who has devoted her life to CF; plus about 150 CF parents.
I took a heap of notes so that I could share the content with you all. You can download my notes here.
CFRI summary notes
Please keep in mind that there was a mountain of info so I’ve done my best to try and record / remember as much as I could in each session but there may be some things missing. There’s a bit more to put down on paper but this is the majority of the sessions as I remember them.
If you have any questions please give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org