Understanding TSLP in Asthma
“Give me a T!”
“Give me an S!”
“Give me an L!”
“Give me a P!”
What does that give you? TSLP!
What is TSLP?
When I first heard about TSLP, all I could think of was motor oil. In my opinion, it did sound like some form of an automotive product. Instead, it is an important finding in asthma pathogenesis.
You may be asking yourself, what exactly is TSLP and why is it important in asthma? The role of TSLP is being investigated as a potentially important biomarker and an avenue for treatment in asthma patients.1 Researchers are hopeful that this may help to address an unmet need in asthma treatment.
Those that are thought to benefit are those that remain uncontrolled despite maximum therapies and may need a more targeted approach to their specific asthma pathogenesis. The thought is that by targeting other early cellular events that drive asthma, symptoms may be reduced and clinical benefit achieved.2
Background information on TSLP
TSLP stands for thymic stromal lymphopoietin. Some facts about TSLP include:
- It is a cytokine. A cytokine is a glycoprotein that regulates cellular responses.3
- Expressed by epithelial cells in the lungs in response to danger signals.1
- It is also expressed in other barrier epithelial cells of the gut and skin, playing a role in atopic disease.2
- Works by sending “danger” signals out after being activated, especially in inflammatory responses.3
- Connected to IL-2 cytokines, however it is different in that it does not contain the same common cytokine receptors that other IL-2 cytokines do.2
- Higher amounts of TSLP have been found in asthmatic patients when compared to control in early studies.4
TSLPs role in asthma
Current research is being conducted on the role that an anti-TSLP may provide on asthma treatment. In early studies, TSLP has been connected to airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness. This was specifically seen in the measurements of FeNo (nitric oxide), blood, and sputum eosinophils. Research continues to determine if the role of an anti-TSLP is effective at reducing these biomarkers and consequently reducing asthma symptoms in some patients. Early studies indicate that the future looks bright.5 Anti-TSLP treatment would join other Th2 targeted biologics in the role of treating asthma.
In the world of new therapies in development and the increasing role that biologics and targeted therapies are playing in the space of asthma treatments, it is comforting to know that the offerings are being expanded. Hopefully, in the relatively near future, there will be more therapies available to meet these specific needs of patients.
Are you a patient that has been anxiously waiting for more targeted therapy? Have you been told by your care team that TSLP may be a contributing cause to your asthma symptoms? I would love to hear about your experiences.
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