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Eur Respir J. 2013 Oct;42(4):1012-9. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00124912. Epub 2013 Jan 24.

Airway and systemic inflammation in obese children with asthma.

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Hunter Medical Research Institute, Newcastle.


Obese asthma presents via altered airway and systemic inflammation in adults. This has not been comprehensively described in children. The aim of the present study was to compare airway and systemic inflammation in obese and nonobese asthmatic children and controls. In a cross-sectional study, children aged 8-17 years were assigned to one of four groups: obese asthma (OA, n=74); nonobese asthma (NOA, n=249); obese control (OC, n=9); nonobese control (NOC, n=29). Lung function, and both sputum and systemic inflammatory biomarkers were measured. Non-eosinophilic asthma was more prevalent among OA females (60.0%) versus OA males (30.8%). However, there were no differences in the percentage of eosinophils or neutrophils between OA and NOA. Leptin was higher in OC, but not OA, versus NOA and NOC, while adiponectin was reduced in OA versus NOC only. Expiratory reserve volume was reduced in OA, versus NOC. Residual volume (RV) and RV/total lung capacity were reduced in OC versus OA, and OC versus OA and NOA, respectively. Obesity was associated with significant lung restriction in children with and without asthma. Obesity was not associated with significantly altered airway or systemic inflammation in asthmatic children. However, the higher prevalence of non-eosinophilic asthma in female obese asthmatics, compared to males, warrants further investigation.

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