Study finds genetic link between obesity and asthma

19 July 2013

There appears to be a genetic link between obesity and asthma, according to research conducted at the University of Buffalo in the US.

Scientists at the university conducted two related studies - one comparing obese people and those of normal weight, and the other looking at changes in the behaviour of asthma-linked genes after morbidly obese patients had lost weight following gastric bypass surgery.

The first study identified four genes involving chronic inflammation in asthma that were more active in obese people, sometimes by more than 100 per cent.

Obese patients also tended to have higher concentrations of asthma-related compounds called MMP-9 and nitric oxide metabolites.

In the second study, researchers showed that levels of these asthma-related compounds dropped following gastric bypass surgery and the activity of six genes implicated in asthma decreased.

Study author Professor Paresh Dandona said the research - which is published in the journal Obesity - is the first to link obesity and asthma through biological and immunological mechanisms.

"Our findings point the way to the management of asthma in the obese through simple weight reduction," the professor added.

Posted by Edward Bartel

 

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