Epidemiological studies report that overweight or obese asthmatic subjects have more severe disease than those of a healthy weight. We postulated accumulation of adipose tissue within the airway wall may occur in overweight patients and contribute to airway pathology
..BMI ranged from 15 to 45 (kg·m−2) and was greater in NFA (p<0.05). Adipose tissue was identified in the outer wall of large airways (Pbm>6 mm), but was rarely seen in small airways (Pbm<6 mm). Adipose tissue area correlated positively with BMI and airway wall thickness in all groups. Densities of neutrophils correlated with adipose tissue area in control subjects (Pbm>6 mm, p=0.04) and both neutrophils and eosinophils in FA (Pbm>12 mm, p<0.01).
These data show that adipose tissue is present within the airway wall and is related to BMI, wall thickness and the number of inflammatory cells. The accumulation of airway adipose tissue in overweight individuals may therefore contribute to airway pathophysiology.