First evidence that fat accumulates in the lungs of overweight/obese patients


  • Dawn O'Shea
  • Univadis Medical News
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Researchers have shown for the first time that fatty tissue accumulates in the airway walls and may contribute to asthma pathophysiology in obese or overweight patients

The study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, examined transverse airway sections from post-mortem lungs of control subjects (n=15) and cases of non-fatal (NFA, n=21) and fatal (FA, n=16) asthma. BMI ranged from 15-45 kg/m2 and was greater in NFA (P<.05>

Adipose tissue was identified in the outer wall of large airways (Pbm>6 mm) but was rarely seen in small airways (Pbm

Density of neutrophils correlated with ATA in controls (Pbm>6 mm; P=.04). Densities of both neutrophils and eosinophils correlated with ATA in FA cases (Pbm>12 mm; P<.01>

It has previously been thought that the effect of body weight on asthma incidence and severity was mediated by direct pressure of excess weight on the lungs or a general inflammation caused by excess weight.

The findings of this study suggest another mechanism is at play that may, at least partly, explain the increase in asthma and asthma symptoms in overweight or obese patients.

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