Monday, May 22, 2017
CF Awareness Month Day 22 - CF Facts
Here is one random, interesting "fact" about CF that I'll leave you with, though:
One of the theories about where Cystic Fibrosis comes from is that the CF gene mutated into what it is now as a defense against cholera and cholera-like diseases. At its base, CF is caused by a faulty gene called the CFTR gene. A healthy CFTR gene is supposed to produce a protein that controls the movement of salt and water in and out of our cells. CF patients have a faulty CFTR gene, meaning the protein does not accommodate the movement of salt and water out of our cells like it should, which results in the thick, sticky mucus that clogs up our bodies. However, it is hypothesized that the defective CFTR gene would actually prevent death in the case of cholera (a disease that kills its victims by causing extreme dehydration through an unrelenting loss of fluids via diarrhea, vomiting, etc.) The theory is that the faulty molecular pathway that prevents the normal exchange of salt and water in cystic fibrosis cells would also block the exchange of the cholera toxin which causes diarrhea and extreme dehydration.
Some studies were conducted in the early nineties where mice were given one, two, or zero copies of the faulty CFTR gene in cystic fibrosis, and then all mice were injected with cholera toxin. The results showed that mice with two healthy CFTR genes all died from cholera-induced diarrhea. The mice with one faulty CFTR gene (meaning they were "carriers" of the CF mutation) suffered from diarrhea only half as bad as the mice with normal genes. And the mice with two copies of the faulty CFTR gene (meaning they "had" cystic fibrosis) did not suffer cholera symptoms at all.
So, there's that theory. I can't find any recent research on the topic, but here's an old article that's interesting: http://www.nytimes.com/1994/10/07/us/clue-to-why-cystic-fibrosis-has-survived.html
So there ya go - the one leg-up we have on society as a whole is that if there's another cholera outbreak, we might just survive! Hey, I'll take it. 😀