Asthma and obesity link17th July 2007
Scientists from King's College London have said they have isolated a protein which may explain why obese people are more likely to have asthma than those of a regular weight.
The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Scientists have often linked asthma and obesity, but have not yet fully investigated the connection.
The King's research team have identified a particular protein which plays a role in lung inflammation and can increase the desire for food. The team wrote: "These findings may provide a mechanistic link between allergic inflammation, asthma and obesity."
The team studied molecules generated by Th2 cells. These cells are part of the immune system, and can agitate the lungs and be a factor in the causation of asthma.
PMCH, a protein made by the cells, is understood to increase hunger. As not all people with asthma are also obese, the team's head, Dr David Cousins, said more research was necessary into the protein.
Previous studies have shown that many asthma sufferers were obese before they developed asthma.
A study of 330,000 patients, published in 2007, revealed that for each asthma sufferer of normal weight, there were 1.5 who were obese. Obese patients were also 50% more likely to develop asthma.
Dr David Haslam of the National Obesity Forum said: "Working out the mechanisms, the links between diseases is important, and it adds to the growing body of evidence which gives obesity some form of genetic basis."
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Title: Asthma and obesity link
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 3487
Date Added: 17th Jul 2007