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Asthma WA funds research into intrauterine growth restriction and it's impact on asthma

Early results from an Asthma Foundation WA (AFWA) funded trial looking at the link between intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and increased airway smooth muscle mass leading to the risk of asthma development are promising according to a local research team.

Funding of the New Investigator grant from AFWA enabled the study to be conducted by Dr Kimberley Wang from the Telethon Kids Institute and Dr Peter Noble from the University of WA.

Previous studies have shown that IUGR is associated with asthma in children and chronic lung disease in adults. The reasons for this association are unclear and generally prenatal links with asthma have been poorly studied.
The primary aim of the study was to determine whether hypoxia-induced IUGR altered airway structure and function in the postnatal period that may lead to a risk for future asthma development.

The research involved conducting trials utilising well-established maternal hypoxia-induced IUGR rodent models, which found that IUGR males have increased airway resistance when challenged with a bronchoconstrictor agonist in early life, but not the females.

“Interestingly, the IUGR females increased airway resistance when challenged with a bronchoconstrictor agonist in later life, but not the males,” said lead researcher Dr Kimberley Wang.

“Abnormalities in the airway of the IUGR males during early life were observed however they corrected in later life.”
“The project has demonstrated sex differences in the structure and function at different stages of life in the IUGR individuals. This will advance our knowledge on potential mechanisms in asthma.”

One of the main roles of AFWA is to fund vital research on asthma and to date the Foundation has contributed over $5million to respiratory research.
To review more detailed information about the grant and AFWA’s research program, please visit

AFWA, a community based not-for-profit organisation, is a Registered Training Organisation which has been providing services to the WA community for the past 52 years. AFWA’s main role is to fund local research into asthma, provide education and support services for people with asthma and to train health professionals in the most up to date methods in asthma management.

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