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Link Between Asthma And Obesity


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Scientists at King's College London say they have identified a protein which plays a part in both inflammation of the lungs and an increase in hunger but added that further research is still needed.

A link between asthma and obesity was previously suspected but the relationship between them was little understood.

"These findings may provide a mechanistic link between allergic inflammation, asthma and obesity", the researchers wrote.

The researchers investigated molecules produced by Th2 cells which are specialised cells belonging to the immune system that produce a protein known as PMCH which is known to increase appetite and it found that it can also cause inflammation of the lungs.

Several previous European and American studies found a link between obesity and asthma which could not be explained by a gain in weight brought on by the inactivity that asthma encourages because in many cases the obesity preceded the asthma.

One study of 330,000 patients published earlier this year found that for every normal weight person with asthma there are 1.5 who are overweight or obese.

However since not all people with asthma are obese the lead researcher of this latest study, Dr David Cousins, said further investigation will be needed into possible genetic variations of PMCH which is the gene that is known to increase appetite.

Dr David Haslam of the 'National Obesity Forum' said that from an obesity perspective the research was interesting but as yet there were no therapeutic implications. "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".