Excess Weight Changes Airway
New research suggests that obesity changes how airway muscles function, increasing the risk of developing asthma. The study is published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology — Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology.
Obesity is a major risk factor for asthma, in part because of the systemic and localized inflammation of the airways that occurs in people with a high body mass index.
People with obesity “also manifest a higher risk of severe asthma, decreased disease control and decreased response to corticosteroids therapy,” explained the bicoastal team of scientists who conducted the research.
These results suggest that obesity “imprints on structural cells [or airway smooth muscle cells] a unique signature that can be identified and that may lead to novel targeted approaches to improve asthma management without the use of steroids,” explained Reynold Panettieri Jr., MD, director of the Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine and Science and corresponding author of the study.