Obesity increases the risk of incident asthma. However, the mechanistic basis for this relationship is poorly understood. Our published data demonstrate that obese as compared to lean, wild-type mice exhibit increased airway responsiveness to methacholine but decreased numbers of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid eosinophils. Recent data from humans demonstrate that obesity does not promote the development of airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) in obese asthmatics by enhancing airway inflammation, but rather, by enhancing chronic systemic inflammation, which is characterized by increased serum concentrations of hormones, cytokines, chemokines, and soluble cytokine receptors. These substances, collectively termed adipokines, are largely pro-inflammatory in nature. Of the adipokines increased in obesity, our preliminary data implicate resistin, a hormone and a pro-inflammatory cytokine, as a key mediator for the development of obesity- induced, chronic systemic inflammation, and potentially, AHR in obese asthmatics. Consequently, the major goal of this proposal is to investigate resistin, as the causative link, at the molecular level, by which obesity increases the risk of incident asthma. We and others have demonstrated that resistin mediates the expression of several inflammatory moieties elevated in obesity-induced, chronic systemic inflammation. Importantly, these same inflammatory moieties can elicit allergic AHR. Recently, we discovered an isoform of decorin (?DCN) as a receptor for resistin that is expressed on adipose stromal cells (ASC) from white adipose tissue (WAT). ASC are known to exert context-dependent immunomodulatory effects, which have not been well- studied in asthma. Because ASC exhibit a pro-inflammatory phenotype in obesity, we hypothesize that resistin-activated ASC cooperate in establishing and sustaining AHR in obese asthmatics by augmenting the development of chronic systemic inflammation in these individuals. Based on these observations, we propose to test the central hypothesis that obesity-induced increases in resistin promote the development of AHR in asthma through the augmentation of chronic systemic inflammation via resistin-?DCN signaling in ASC from WAT. We propose two Specific Aims to test this hypothesis.
In Aim 1, we shall examine the contribution of resistin to the development of chronic systemic inflammation and increases in airway responsiveness to methacholine in obese mice genetically deficient in resistin.
In Aim 2, we shall determine the ability of 3T3-L1 ASC, engineered to over-express ?DCN, to synthesize and/or release adipokines in response to resistin. These investigations will illuminate the role of resistin-?DCN signaling in the development of obesity-induced, chronic systemic inflammation, and potentially, AHR, in obese asthmatics. These outcomes will be useful for developing preventative or palliative therapies directed at interfering with resistin's detrimental effects on pulmonary biology in the obese.

Public Health Relevance

Obesity is a risk factor for the development of asthma;however, the reason for this is not known. Consequently, the goal of this research is to understand the biological processes by which obesity contributes to the development of asthma by examining the role of resistin in this relationship. Resistin is an inflammatory protein, which s increased in obesity. If the role of resistin in this relationship is better understood, this couldlead to the development of new therapeutic strategies to alleviate the detrimental contributions of obesity to the development of asthma.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Small Research Grants (R03)
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Lung Cellular, Molecular, and Immunobiology Study Section (LCMI)
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Minnicozzi, Michael
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University of Texas Health Science Center Houston
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Dahm, Paul H; Richards, Jeremy B; Karmouty-Quintana, Harry et al. (2014) Effect of antigen sensitization and challenge on oscillatory mechanics of the lung and pulmonary inflammation in obese carboxypeptidase E-deficient mice. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 307:R621-33