Cystic fibrosis (CF)
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an autosomal recessive
multisytem disease characterised by altered
function of the exocrine glands affecting primarily
the lungs, pancreas and sweat glands.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is caused by mutations in the
CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR)
gene which encodes a protein expressed in the
apical membrane of exocrine epithelial cells.
Gene located on chromosome 7
Prevalence- varies with ethnic origin
1 in 3000 live births in Caucasians in
and Northern Europe
1 in 17,000 live births of African
1 in 90,000 live births in Hawaiian
Protein Structure and Function
The normal CFTR protein product
is a chloride channel protein
found in membranes of cells that
line passageways of the lungs,
liver, pancreas, intestines,
reproductive tract, and skin.
CFTR transports chloride ions
(Cl-) ions across the membranes
of cells in the lungs, liver,
pancreas, digestive tract,
reproductive tract, and skin.
CFTR controls chloride ion
movement in and out of the cell.
CF-Pathophysiology – Primary defect
• loss of chloride ion transport.
• This upsets the sodium and chloride ion
balance needed to maintain the normal, thin
mucus layer that is easily removed by cilia
lining the lungs and other organs. The
sodium and chloride ion imbalance creates
a thick, sticky mucus layer that cannot be
removed by cilia and traps bacteria such as
S. aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa
resulting in chronic infections.
Failure to thrive
Recurrent pulmonary infiltrates
Nasal polyps in 25%; often
Viscous, purulent, green sputum
Small airway disease is first functional
Progresses to reversible as well as
changes in FEV1
Chest x-ray may show hyperinflation,
mucus impaction, bronchial cuffing,
~10% of CF patients
Mucous in the airways cannot be easily cleared
from the lungs.
Late onset puberty-due to chronic lung disease and
>95% of male patients with CF have azospermia due to
obliteration of the vas deferens
20% of female patients with CF are infertile
nevertheless >90% of completed pregnancies produce
Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
Found in >90% of CF patients
Protein and fat malabsorption
Frequent bulky, foul-smelling stools
Vitamin A, D, E, K malabsorption
Sparing of pancreatic beta cells
Beta cell function decreases with age
Increased incidence of GI malignancy
Sweat chloride test
The sweat test measures the level of
chloride in the sweat using a small
Pilocarpine increases sweating+ Mild
The sweat is collected on a gauze for 30
minutes, then weighed in a
Chloride >60 mEq/L- Cystic Fibrosis
•The only way to cure CF would be to use gene therapy to replace the
defective gene or to give the patient the normal form of the protein before
symptoms cause permanent damage.
•The major goal in treating CF is to clear the abnormal and excess
secretions and control infections in the lungs, and to prevent obstruction in
•For patients with advanced stages of the disease, a lung transplant
operation may be necessary.
•Although treating the symptoms does not cure the disease, it can greatly
improve the quality of life for most patients and has, over the years,
increased the average life span of CF patients to 30 years.
• Modified diet
Due to pancreatic disorders, children with CF require a modified diet, including
vitamin supplements (vitamins A, D, E, and K) and pancreatic enzymes.
Maintaining adequate nutrition is essential. The diet calls for a high-caloric
content (twice what is considered normal for the child's age), which is typically
low in fat and high in protein. Patients or their caregivers should consult with
their health care providers to determine the most appropriate diet.
• Gene therapy is the use of
normal DNA to "correct" for
the damaged genes that
• In the case of CF, gene
therapy involves inhaling a
spray that delivers normal
DNA to the lungs.
• The goal is to replace the
defective CF gene in the
lungs to cure CF or slow
the progression of the