In other words, aP2 not only helps bring about obesity, diabetes type 2, hardening of the arteries - it also plays a vital role in allergic respiratory diseases such as asthma. The scientists say this is the first discovery which sees a clear link between the immune and metabolic systems.
Michael Rolph, lead researcher, and team, found that mice lacking aP2 experience a significant reduction in airway inflammation in a model of asthma.
The scientists demonstrated for the first time that aP2 is present in human epithelial cells which line the tubes that carry air from the windpipe to the bronchi (lungs). They also showed that aP2 expression is dramatically increased when the epithelial cells are stimulated with interleukin-4 and -13. This was a surprise as scientists thought aP2 was a specific marker for fat cells only.
aP2 function in mice was directly linked to infiltration into the airways of leukocytes and eosinophils. Leukocytes and eosinophils are inflammatory molecules.
This discovery emphasizes the close link between the regulation of inflammation and metabolism.
The scientists say that a novel way of looking at asthma and other inflammatory lung disease treatments may be to block the function of aP2.
“The adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein aP2 is required in allergic airway inflammation”
J. Clin. Invest., doi: 10.1172/JCI24767
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