About this Research Topic
Chronic lung diseases, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are a major health problem and are projected to be the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030. In recent years epidemiological studies have established that a variety of early life exposures (e.g. pre-term birth, maternal life style, diet, environmental exposures and respiratory infections, amongst others) can prime the lungs during this time for the development of childhood and adult lung diseases. However, mechanistic insights into how pre- and postnatal exposures and alterations in the microenvironment can affect lung development and modulate the developing immune system are still emerging. Moreover, the consequent effects on lung health and the initiation and progression of respiratory diseases remain scarcely investigated. To better understand these processes an interdisciplinary research approach is needed, in which the crosstalk between lung cellular biology, immunology and microbiology is taken into account to accurately reflect the complexity of the lung microenvironment.
In this Research Topic we aim primarily to identify knowledge gaps in the research on pre- and postnatal development of the lung approached from this multidisciplinary perspective. Furthermore we hope to explore mechanisms underlying the influence of early life factors on the priming of the developing lung for disease and lastly assess whether there is a ‘window-of-opportunity’ in early life during which potential prevention strategies for respiratory diseases could be beneficial.
Accordingly, this Research Topic welcomes basic, translational and clinical research in the form of original manuscripts and reviews focused on describing the crosstalk between developmental, biological, immunological, and microbiome-related processes in the maintenance of lung health in early life. We also welcome manuscripts with a focus on the effects of pre- and postnatal exposures (e.g. pre-term birth, maternal life style, diet, environmental exposures and respiratory infections, amongst others) on the initiation and progression of neonatal, pediatric and adult chronic lung diseases, including, but not limited to, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Specifically, we endorse a focus on the following core themes:
• Define the knowledge gaps including, but not limited to, the physiologically ‘healthy’ lung at different times in early life from a developmental, cellular, immunological and microbial perspective.
• Define the underlying mechanisms from an interdisciplinary perspective including, but not limited to, multi-systemic dimensions of lung diseases, the use of multiple exposure models to reflect the complexity of the clinical situation and also modelling and examination of the extra-pulmonary effects and inter-organ crosstalk and their consequences for the disease.
• Identify potential prevention and treatment strategies including, but not limited to, the repair of damaged lung in early life, nutritional intervention, maternal intervention and the use of pre- and probiotics.
Prof. Niki Reynaert declares that she is part of a consortium grant given out by the Dutch Lung Foundation (6.1.16.088) to study the effect of Multipotent Adult Progenitor Cells in chorioamnionitis. In this project, the cells are provided by the company Athersys. All other Topic Editors declare no conflicts of interest.
Keywords: COPD, Asthma, Respiratory Disease, Chronic Lung Diseases, Translational Medicine
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