Article

Obesity and asthma: Possible mechanisms

Molecular and Integrative Physiological Sciences Program, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology (Impact Factor: 12.05). 06/2008; 121(5):1087-93; quiz 1094-5. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2008.03.004
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Epidemiologic data indicate that obesity increases the prevalence and incidence of asthma and reduces asthma control. Obese mice exhibit innate airway hyperresponsiveness and augmented responses to certain asthma triggers, further supporting a relationship between obesity and asthma. Here I discuss several mechanisms that may explain this relationship. In obesity, lung volume and tidal volume are reduced, events that promote airway narrowing. Obesity also leads to a state of low-grade systemic inflammation that may act on the lung to exacerbate asthma. Obesity-related changes in adipose-derived hormones, including leptin and adiponectin, may participate in these events. Comorbidities of obesity, such as dyslipidemia, gastroesophageal reflux, sleep-disordered breathing, type 2 diabetes, or hypertension may provoke or worsen asthma. Finally, obesity and asthma may share a common etiology, such as common genetics, common in utero conditions, or common predisposing dietary factors. Novel therapeutic strategies for treatment of the obese patient with asthma may result from an increased understanding of the mechanisms underlying this relationship.

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    ABSTRACT: Obesity is a major risk factor for insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes. A chronic low grade inflammatory state has been described during obesity and associated with insulin resistance pathogenesis. Results from animal studies are in favor of a role of the leukotriene (LT) pathway in obesity induced-insulin resistance. However, there is a paucity of data regarding this association in human obesity. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate whether LT production was associated with insulin resistance and other metabolic parameters in a cohort of obese subjects. Forty-six (70% females) obese subjects (BMI≧30 kg/m2) without known diabetes and without inflammatory disease (CRP<10 mg/l) were included. Median age was 44 years (16-80) with a median BMI of 36.8 kg/m2 (30-51). Insulin resistance was evaluated by HOMA-IR index and glucose tolerance test. Urinary LTE4 (U-LTE4) concentration was measured by enzyme immune assay. Screening for obstructive sleep apnea was performed. There was a positive association of U-LTE4 with waist to hip ratio, systolic blood pressure and HOMA-IR in univariate analysis. Further, waist to hip ratio remained the only parameter significantly correlated with U-LTE4, in adjusted multivariate analysis. Taken together, these results confirm the previously established notion of chronic low grade inflammation in obesity and further suggests a role for the LT pathway in obesity-associated development of insulin resistance in humans.
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