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Link Between Asthma and Leptin Found

March 16th 2006

Link Between Asthma and Leptin Found

Lungs and Airway

Research from the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield suggests that there may be link between leptin and asthma.  Previous studies have determined that there was a link between leptin levels and childhood asthma.  This prompted researchers to determine if the same was true for adults.

Doctor Akshay Sood and colleagues looked at data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Study, and found that there was a correlation between leptin levels and asthma.  Of the 5,876 participants they found that the association was stronger in women than men, and stronger in premenopausal women than in postmenopausal women.


Leptin is an inflammatory compound produced by body fat.  Earlier studies found that there was a relation between body mass index (BMI) and asthma risk.  BMI is a measure of weight in relation to height.  The researchers can not prove cause and effect, but they say that in animal studies leptin plays a pro-inflammatory role in the airways.

It is believed that the mechanical effects of obesity seem to play a big role in asthma, according to Reuters News service.  Sood plans on investigating the roles of other fat-produced compounds in the development of asthma.  They will also focus on adiponectin, an anti-inflammatory protein that may counter the effects of leptin.  Their research will be published in the next issue of Thorax.

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By Dan Wilson
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