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Friday, May 6, 2011

Dietary fat intake linked directly to airway inflammation

What you eat determines how you breathe whether or not you have asthma. Wood et al. (J Allergy Clin Immunol 2011;127:1133-1140) present first-ever findings on the local inflammatory effects of high fat food, in this month’s issue.

The authors examine the effect of single high-fat or low-fat meals on non-obese subjects with asthma. Then, healthy, non-obese subjects and obese subjects with asthma were administered a single high-fat meal. All groups that consumed a high fat meal showed increased neutrophilic airway inflammation as measured by sputum induction and IL-6 levels, decreased % predicted FEV1 post-bronchodilator, and increased TLR4 expression and TNF-α levels. Wood et al. report that increased total plasma fatty acid levels were correlated significantly to increases in TNF-α and neutrophil percentage in sputum. Additionally, increased fatty acid levels were inversely correlated to change in % FEV1, %FVC, and FEV1/FVC.

They also examined the effect of meals containing trans-fatty acids as compared to meals with no trans-fatty acids. Subjects consuming trans-fatty acids demonstrated increased sputum neutrophilia compared to those that consumed no trans-fatty acids, which is consistent with other research reporting the pro-inflammatory properties of trans-fat.

Wood et al. state in conclusion that consumption of a high fat meal causes local airway inflammation and asthma worsening through activation of the innate immune response. They recommend that future research on this subject should focus on the effects of chronic consumption of high fat food in patients with asthma.

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