Modulation of human airway smooth muscle biology by human adipocytes
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BACKGROUND: Asthma and obesity, two growing epidemics worldwide, may share an underlying causal relationship. Airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), a defining component of asthma, has been documented in both 'obese' animal models and non-asthmatic obese individuals. However, there is a paucity of evidence that obesity-derived factors directly affect human airway smooth muscles (ASM). METHODS: Experiments were designed with primary ASM and adipocytes isolated from the same human tissue explants (n = 6). The modulatory effects of human adipocytes extracted from subcutaneous (extrathoracic) and visceral (intrathoracic) depots, on ASM biology was examined with respect to proliferation, migration, contractility and pro-inflammatory cytokine synthesis. RESULTS: Adipocyte-conditioned media as well as myocyte-adipocyte co-cultures failed to show any significant changes in the proliferative or migrational properties of the ASM. Adipocyte-conditioned media also had no effect on the contractility or relaxation of bovine tracheal muscle strips. In contrast, there was a moderate yet significant increase of IL-6 and eotaxin release by ASM incubated with adipocyte-conditioned media (P = 0.0035 and P = 0.0067, vs. control, respectively), thereby further consolidating the altered inflammatory state reported for both diseases. CONCLUSION: We report, for the first time, that adipocytes from either subcutaneous or visceral depots can trigger an inflammatory state in the ASM, with negligible modulatory effects on hyperplasia, hypertrophy or contractile properties.
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