Bradley Richmond, MD, PhD: How Smoke Might Influence Ciliated Cell Function in COPD

Dr. Richmond speaks to the newest pulmonology data from Vanderbilt University that was presented at ATS 2022.

If the research presented at the American Thoracic Society 2020 International Conference in San Francisco is an indication, investigators from Vanderbilt University have been keeping themselves busy with determining how cell development and cell type affects patients with diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

In an interview with HCPLive, Bradley Richmond, MD, PhD, from the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at Vanderbilt University, discussed new data originating from the university that was presented at the conference.

“My lab is broadly interested in the cells that line small airways, and turns out there's not just one type of cell in our small airways, but multiple kinds of cells- there’s ciliated cells, secretory cells, and other kinds as well,” Richmond said. “We're interested in how the cells know what they should grow up and become...and in addition to the normal biology behind that, we're interested in how those systems go awry in disease states, and particularly in COPD.”

In Richmond’s own study, investigators found that cigarette smoke exposure had rapid and opposing effects on p73 and p63 – members of sequence-specific transcription factors- in vitro following treatment of cells in a culture dish with cigarette smoke extract.

“We found that (the cells) actually had reduced expression of p73 as well, and so this suggested to us that possibly cigarette smoke can impair ciliated cell function and/or differentiation, and that may explain the observation, which was made many years ago, that cigarette smoke can impair ciliated cell function and possibly reduced ciliated cell numbers,” Richmond said.

Richmond was also eager to share data from a presentation made at ATS by his colleague Jessica Blackburn, MD, who, along with an investigative team from Vanderbilt University, explored the affect that TAZ had on secretory cells in the lung epithelium.

To hear more from Dr. Richmond on the data coming out of Vanderbilt University, watch the full video interview above.