lungs

Human lungs 'brush' themselves clean of contaminants

Friday, September 07, 2012 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: lungs, contaminants, respiratory system

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) Human lungs contain a tiny network of constantly moving "brushes" that flush contaminants out of the respiratory system, according to research conducted by scientists from the University of North Carolina and published in the journal Science.

Scientists have known for a long time that the respiratory system protects itself by means of a coating of mucus, which is sticky enough to trap pollutants and keep them from reaching the body's cells. When needed, the body can expel this mucus through a runny nose or a cough.

"The air we breathe isn't exactly clean, and we take in many dangerous elements with every breath," said lead researcher Michael Rubinstein.

"We need a mechanism to remove all the junk we breathe in, and the way it's done is with a very sticky gel, called mucus, that catches these particles and removes them with the help of tiny cilia. The cilia are constantly beating, even while we sleep.

"In a coordinated fashion, they push mucus, containing foreign objects, out of the lungs, and we either swallow it or spit it out. These cilia even beat for a few hours after we die. If they stopped, we'd be flooded with mucus that provides a fertile breeding ground for bacteria."

But until now, researchers have never understood why the mucus does not stick to or even infiltrate the respiratory cells themselves. The foremost theory, known as the "gel-on-liquid model," posited that an as-yet-undiscovered watery "periciliary" layer kept mucus and cilia separate. The problem with this theory was always that to the best of scientific knowledge, mucus should eventually dissolve into such a watery layer, not remain separate.

"We can't have a watery layer separating sticky mucus from our cells because there is an osmotic pressure in the mucus that causes it to expand in water," Rubinstein says. "So what is really keeping the mucus from sticking to our cells?"

"Gel-on-brush"

To get to the bottom of the mystery, the researchers used modern imaging techniques to examine the interior of the lungs. They found a dense network of brush-like structures that sit atop the cilia. These brushes are composed of protective molecules that keep both mucus and contaminants from getting to the respiratory cells beneath. These molecules also function as a second line of defense against viruses or bacteria that manage to penetrate the mucus.

Stephen Spiro of the British Lung Foundation said the findings could help significantly improve scientific understanding of lung function.

"Mucus has a complex biological make-up and forms a vital part of the lungs' defense mechanism," he said.

"Research such as this helps our understanding [of] how this system works, and of the complex mechanisms deep within our lungs which protect us from the atmosphere we breathe in."

Rubinstein and his fellow researchers noted that their findings may also explain previously mysterious lung disorders from asthma to cystic fibrosis (CF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These diseases may stem from a collapse of the protective brushes.

"We found that there is a specific condition, below which the brush is healthy and cells are happy," Rubinstein said. "But above this ideal condition, in diseases like CF or COPD, the brush becomes compressed and actually prevents the normal cilia beating and healthy flow of mucus."

In such conditions, the mucus would then stick directly to the lung's cells.

"The collapse of this brush is what can lead to immobile mucus and result in infection, inflammation and eventually the destruction of lung tissue and the loss of lung function," Rubinstein said. "But our new model should guide researchers to develop novel therapies to treat lung diseases and provide them with biomarkers to track the effectiveness of those therapies."

Sources for this article include:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19357090
http://www.sciencecodex.com
http://health.usnews.com

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.


Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...



GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Now Available at ShopNaturalNews.com

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Podcasts
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...

 

Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...

 

Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through NaturalNews.com, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at www.StorableOrganics.com



Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
GMOs
Quackwatch
Vaccines
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.