She said she hopes the findings, which her group intends to refine—possibly by using video images and images of less severe paralysis—can help guide reconstruction. “We can’t attack all of the deficits at once,” Dr. Ishii said. “And this helps us to start to structure where we need to focus our attention to get the greatest outcome for the patient.”
Explore this issue:June 2015
Edmund Prince Fowler Award
In another honor given at the meeting this year, the Fowler Award recognizing excellence among theses in basic science, was presented to Bradford Woodworth, MD, assistant professor of surgery and director of otolaryngology research at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, for his findings on resveratrol and mucociliary clearance.
In the study, Dr. Woodworth and his team created a model of hypoxia-induced dysfunction of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) and, within that model, found that resveratrol—a non-flavonoid polyphenol—can help reverse this dysfunction.
Mucociliary clearance, the process of capturing bacteria and other airborne threats and removing them from the body, is the airway’s main innate defense against disease. It depends on proper function of the CFTR chloride transport channel. When the channel is blocked, the airway surface liquid gets dehydrated, leading to a blockage of mucociliary clearance, overgrowth of bacteria, and airway infections.
Researchers found that they could use oxygen restriction to deplete airway surface liquid with an underlying mechanism similar to cystic fibrosis, making it a useful model in which to study resveratrol’s effects in preparation for a clinical trial.
Furthermore the researchers found that they could activate transepithelial chloride transport using resveratrol, ultimately increasing the depth of the airway surface liquid. “The hypoxia-induced model is an acquired CFTR dysfunction model,” Dr. Woodworth said. “It is ameliorated and mitigated by resveratrol, and this results in improved epithelial function and ion transport.”
The findings suggest this could be a worthwhile therapeutic approach. “Essentially, it’s a good model to say, ‘Hey, we have these hypoxic defects. You can have acquired CFTR deficiency and sinus disease, and maybe chloride secretagogues could be a good approach, an innovative approach, to overcoming acquired CFTR defects in sinus disease.”