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Posts Tagged ‘genomics’
Obese asthma patients could significantly improve the symptoms of their respiratory condition by losing weight, according to new research, which showed that a high body-mass index (BMI) is linked to increased activity of asthma genes.
Initially, scientists performed a comparative study involving 23 obese patients, 15 morbidly obese participants, and a 22-strong control group of people with a healthy body-mass index (BMI).
So that the condition could not skew the results, researchers made sure none had been diagnosed with asthma.
Investigators wanted to determine whether expression of asthma-related genes was higher in the unhealthy-weight cohorts. Increased activity of these proteins can lead to higher inflammation which results in more severe symptoms.
Data analysis revealed that activity of four genes associated with chronic inflammation – interleukin 4, LIGHT, lymphotoxin-beta and interleukin 33 – was significantly higher in the obese or morbidly obese subjects.
Blood plasma examination also showed elevated concentrations of MMP-9 – an enzyme involved in inflammation, and nitric oxide metabolites – indicators of oxidative stress, a process which plays a role in the pathogenesis of asthma.
First author Dr Paresh Dandona, of the University at Buffalo, said: “Ours is the first study to provide a mechanistic link between obesity and asthma through biological/immunological mechanisms. There has been, until now, no biological, mechanistic explanation other than the fact that obesity may raise the diaphragm and thus reduce lung volumes.”
Scientists then performed an experiment to determine whether gastric bypass surgery – a drastic weight-loss solution – would help to reduce asthma gene activity in dangerously overweight people.
The digestive system surgery helps a person to lose weight by allowing them to achieve satiety sooner and by redirecting food so that fewer calories are absorbed into the body. Recipients are required to follow a strict diet afterwards.
Experimenters analysed people who underwent the procedure and found that MMP-9 and NOM levels dropped, as did expression of six asthma-related genes. This indicates that weight loss could help to reduce inflammation and slow pathogenesis in obese asthma patients.