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