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Obese Asthmatics Have Reduced Response to Glucocorticoids

May explain lower efficacy of asthma medications in obese

THURSDAY, Oct. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Blood cells from overweight and obese asthmatics have a blunted response to glucocorticoids, which may explain the lower efficacy of asthma medications in these patients, according to a report in the Oct. 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

E. Rand Sutherland, M.D., from the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, and colleagues examined whether body mass index affected the response to glucocorticoids in 45 non-smoking adults, of whom 33 had asthma and 12 did not have asthma.

The researchers found that in peripheral blood mononuclear cells, increased body mass index was associated with significantly reduced induction of mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase-1 (MKP-1) in response to dexamethasone and significantly increased baseline levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha in patients with asthma. Dexamethasone-induced MKP-1 expression was also significantly lower in bronchoalveolar lavage cells from overweight and obese asthma patients compared with lean asthmatics.

"Elevated body mass index is associated with blunted in vitro response to dexamethasone in overweight and obese patients with asthma," Sutherland and colleagues conclude.

Sutherland and one of the study's co-authors report financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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