Leptin Promotes Allergic Airway Inflammation through Targeting the Unfolded Protein Response Pathway

Dr. Liu and Dr. Yang lab group photo
Dr. Liu and Dr. Yang lab group photo



Allergic asthma and obesity are major public health problems in the world. Recent Meta-analysis studies implicated a positive relationship between serum leptin, which is elevated in obese individuals, and the risk of asthma. However, it is not well understood how obesity-associated elevation of leptin increases the risk of asthma. In the current study, we have found that leptin induces the unfolded protein response factor XBP1s in an mTOR- and MAPK-dependent manner in pro-allergic TH2 cells; in vivo, mice fed with high fat diet had increased serum leptin as observed in human obese population and exacerbated asthmatic symptoms, associated with increased XBP1s expression in splenic CD4+ T cells. XBP1s is required for leptin-mediated pro-allergic TH2 cell survival and cytokine production. Our results reveal a previously unappreciated insight that obesity-associated hyperleptinemia contributes to enhanced pro-allergic lymphocyte responses through induction of XBP1s, leading to exacerbation of allergic asthma.

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