The burden of obesity in asthma and COPD: Role of adiponectin.

Research paper by Andrea A Bianco, Ersilia E Nigro, Maria Ludovica ML Monaco, Maria Gabriella MG Matera, Olga O Scudiero, Gennaro G Mazzarella, Aurora A Daniele

Indexed on: 25 Jan '17Published on: 25 Jan '17Published in: Pulmonary Pharmacology and Therapeutics


The influence of obesity on development, severity and prognosis of both asthma and COPD is attracting growing interest. The impact of obesity on the respiratory system ranges from structural modifications (decline of total lung capacity) to humoral alterations. Adipose tissue strongly contributes to the establishment of an inflammatory state being an important source of adipokines. Amongst adipokines, adiponectin is an important component of organ cross talk with adipose tissue exerting protective effects on a variety of pathophysiological processes. Adiponectin is secreted in serum where it abundantly circulates as complexes of different molecular weight. Adiponectin properties are mediated by specific receptors that are widely expressed with AdipoR1, AdipoR2, and T-cadherin being present on epithelial and endothelial pulmonary cells indicating a functional role on lung physiology. In COPD, mild to moderate obesity has been shown to have protective effects on patient's survival, while a higher mortality rate has been observed in patients with low BMI. A specific cluster of obese patients has been identified; in this group, asthma features are particularly severe and difficult to treat. Better understanding of the molecular mechanisms at the base of cross talk among different tissues and organs will lead to identification of new targets for both diagnosis and treatment of asthma and COPD.