How A Common Chemical May Explain the COPD - Hepatitis C Link

Editor's note: This is part two of a series on COPD and hepatitis C. Part 1 is titled 'Links Between COPD and Hepatitis C'.

I love to dig deep into the science of diseases like COPD. I like to dig deep into these complex topics. I’m kind of a nerd that way. In this article, I would like to explain how a common chemical might explain a potential link between COPD and hepatitis C.

Is there a link?

Earlier I wrote an article called “Links between COPD and hepatitis C.”  I also wrote an article called “Links Between Interleukin 8 (IL8) and COPD.” IL8 is a chemical secreted by your immune system. It’s a pro-inflammatory chemical that may also contribute to another disease called hepatitis C. So, is it possible that IL8 may explain the COPD - hepatitis C link?

Now, granted, this is assuming that the two are even linked. Researchers think that they might be. Although there are been very few studies about this subject. Recently, Mekov and peers looked into this link.1 They did a great review of all the studies on this subject, and it is based on that review that this article is based.

How does IL8 affect COPD?

IL8 is one of several mediators of inflammation suspected of contributing to COPD. IL8 is secreted by your immune system in response to exposure to harmful substances inhaled in the air (such as cigarette smoke). It tends to indirectly be responsible for neutrophilic inflammation.1

IL8 recruits specialized white blood cells called neutrophils to airways. Once in airways, neutrophils cause an aggressive form of inflammation. They may make airways extra sensitive to COPD triggers such as smoke, dust, strong smells, emotions, etc. This can make inflammation severe and airways increasingly narrow. Over time, this inflammation may cause airway scarring, making airways even more narrow.1

Lung function over time

So, in this way, IL8 may be one of the key components of loss of lung function over time. This chemical can also get into your blood system. It is in this way it may cause havoc in other organs. This is a well-accepted theory for our disease. This may explain the links between COPD and various other diseases as well.1

At the present time, there is no treatment for this type of inflammation. However, there is a medicine in the pipeline. This medicine is called Danirexin. The hope is that this medicine will help reverse neutrophilic inflammation. The goal is this will help improve lung function in the future.1

How does IL8 affect hepatitis C?

The process here is not as well understood by your author. Although I have learned that the hepatitis C virus has proteins on it. Your immune system may respond to this virus by secreting IL8. Some speculate this chemical may help speed up the replication of the hepatitis C virus in liver cells and nd this may contribute to hepatitis C related liver disease.2

Of course, as noted above, IL8 is known to get into your blood system. In this way, it can affect other organs, including your lungs. This type of inflammatory response is known as “systemic inflammation.” So, this may help explain the links between hepatitis C and COPD.3

Helping people live better and longer

I’m kind of weird in that I choose nerdy topics to write about. I love to delve deep into the science behind our disease. I like to learn what researchers are learning. I like these kinds of topics because they help explain why our disease happens. They help us understand COPD. They also show us where future treatment options might come from.

I pride myself in that I am able to make these complex subjects easy to understand and it’s articles like this that show why I choose the topics that I do. By understanding things like IL8, we can better understand COPD. And now it might also explain the potential link between COPD and another disease called Hepatitis C.

Why is this important? Because it may help researchers develop better strategies. The ultimate goal here is to help all people with COPD (and Hepatitis C) live better and longer.

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