Distribution, composition and activity of airway-associated adipose tissue in the porcine lung

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Patients with comorbid asthma-obesity experience greater disease severity and are less responsive to therapy. We have previously reported adipose tissue within the airway wall which positively correlated with body mass index. Accumulation of biologically active adipose tissue may result in the local release of adipokines and disrupt large and small airway function depending on its anatomical distribution. This study therefore characterised airway-associated adipose tissue distribution, lipid composition, and adipokine activity in a porcine model. Airway segments were systematically dissected from different locations of the bronchial tree in inflation-fixed lungs. Cryosections were stained with H&E for airway morphology, oil red O to distinguish adipose tissue and Nile blue A for lipid subtype delineation. Excised airway-associated adipose tissue was cultured for 72 h to quantify adipokine release using immunoassays. Results showed that airway-associated adipose tissue extended throughout the bronchial tree and occupied an area proportionally similar to airway smooth muscle within the wall area. Lipid composition consisted of pure neutral lipids (61.7±3.5 %), a mixture of neutral and acidic lipids (36.3±3.4 %), or pure acidic lipids (2.0±0.8 %). Following tissue culture, there was rapid release of IFN-γ, IL-1β and TNF-α at 12 h. Maximum IL-4 and IL-10 release was at 24 and 48 h, and peak leptin release occurred between 48 and 72 h. These data extend previous findings and demonstrate that airway-associated adipose tissue is prevalent and biologically active within the bronchial tree, providing a local source of adipokines that may be a contributing factor in airway disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L179-L189
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023


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