Relationship between type 2 cytokine and inflammasome responses in obesity-associated asthma

Type Article

Journal Article


J. W. Pinkerton; R. Y. Kim; A. C. Brown; B. E. Rae; C. Donovan; J. R. Mayall; O. R. Carroll; M. Khadem Ali; H. A. Scott; B. S. Berthon; K. J. Baines; M. R. Starkey; N. Z. Kermani; Y. K. Guo; A. A. B. Robertson; L. A. J. O'Neill; I. M. Adcock; M. A. Cooper

Year of publication



J Allergy Clin Immunol





BACKGROUND: Obesity is a risk factor for asthma, and obese asthmatic individuals are more likely to have severe, steroid-insensitive disease. How obesity affects the pathogenesis and severity of asthma is poorly understood. Roles for increased inflammasome-mediated neutrophilic responses, type 2 immunity, and eosinophilic inflammation have been described. OBJECTIVE: We investigated how obesity affects the pathogenesis and severity of asthma and identified effective therapies for obesity-associated disease. METHODS: We assessed associations between body mass index and inflammasome responses with type 2 (T2) immune responses in the sputum of 25 subjects with asthma. Functional roles for NLR family, pyrin domain-containing (NLRP) 3 inflammasome and T2 cytokine responses in driving key features of disease were examined in experimental high-fat diet-induced obesity and asthma. RESULTS: Body mass index and inflammasome responses positively correlated with increased IL-5 and IL-13 expression as well as C-C chemokine receptor type 3 expression in the sputum of subjects with asthma. High-fat diet-induced obesity resulted in steroid-insensitive airway hyperresponsiveness in both the presence and absence of experimental asthma. High-fat diet-induced obesity was also associated with increased NLRP3 inflammasome responses and eosinophilic inflammation in airway tissue, but not lumen, in experimental asthma. Inhibition of NLRP3 inflammasome responses reduced steroid-insensitive airway hyperresponsiveness but had no effect on IL-5 or IL-13 responses in experimental asthma. Depletion of IL-5 and IL-13 reduced obesity-induced NLRP3 inflammasome responses and steroid-insensitive airway hyperresponsiveness in experimental asthma. CONCLUSION: We found a relationship between T2 cytokine and NLRP3 inflammasome responses in obesity-associated asthma, highlighting the potential utility of T2 cytokine-targeted biologics and inflammasome inhibitors.