Leptin is a hormone and is already been shown to be associated with asthma in children. It is also seen from reports that asthma and obesity are related. Hence it was found that women who are obese and who have high levels of a hormone produced by fat cells are at an increased risk for having asthma.
But the scientist who conducted this study Dr. Akshay Sood, an associate professor of medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in Albuquerque says that the role of Leptin seems to be independent of obesity. Epidemiologists have long been wondering about the connection between obesity and asthma. Sood conducted this research at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, in Springfield, Ill. He said that obesity is related to asthma and this could be seen clearly among women.
Adipose or fat tissue was thought to be an inert organ that just stored fat but now it seems from a lot of animal experiments that adipose tissue is a very pro-inflammatory organ. He said that fat cells are constantly producing pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Any imbalance may result in a variety of immunological disorders.
The findings of the study were reported in the journal Thorax. The study analyzed information from almost 6,000 American adults who had participated in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES). The NHANES survey included blood Leptin levels and self-reported definitions of asthma. Dr. David Taylor, section head of pulmonary/critical care medicine at the Ochsner Clinic Foundation, in New Orleans said that in these samples the Leptin levels were significantly higher among men and women who had been diagnosed with asthma than those who had never had the disease.
The mean Leptin concentration was 11.1 mgs/liter for those who had never had asthma and 13.7 for those who currently had asthma. The association was stronger in women who were premenopausal. Leptin seemed to have an association with asthma but it may have an independent role to play. Further studies in this direction would help in the identification of the role played by Leptin as an inflammatory or pro-inflammatory effect. This would be an important finding as it is found that asthma is an inflammatory disease.