Obese asthma represents a disease phenotype, which is associated with worse disease control and unresponsiveness to standard anti-inflammatory regimens, including inhaled corticosteroids. Obesity-related innate airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) plays a role in this asthma phenotype via activation of the IL-1β/innate lymphoid cell 3 (ILC3)/IL-17A pathway. Linggan Wuwei Jiangxin (LGWWJX) formula may be a promising therapeutic option for obese asthma according to traditional Chinese medicine theory, clinical experience and related research.
The murine model of allergic asthma with obesity was induced by ovalbumin (OVA) sensitization and challenge in combination with a high fat diet (HFD). LGWWJX formula intervention was oral administrated. AHR and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) cellularity were measured. Lung and liver histopathology assessment was performed by haematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining. IL-1β and IL-17A in BALF and serum were evaluated by ELISA. Additionally, the influence of different concentrations of LGWWJX formula on IL-1β stimulated IL-17A mRNA expression in ILC3 cells was evaluated in vitro.
LGWWJX treatment significantly reduced AHR and allergic airway inflammatory responses in asthmatic mice, as measured by pulmonary histopathology and BALF cellularity, and these effects were more pronounced in obese asthmatic mice. While eosinophil infiltration in BALF was suppressed with LGWWJX treatment in non-obese asthmatic mice, neutrophils and basophils were significantly decreased in obese asthmatic mice. Notably, LGWWJX also demonstrated remarkable efficacy for weight loss and improvements in hepatic steatosis in mice fed with a HFD. Furthermore, the protein levels of IL-1β in both serum and BALF, as well as those of BALF IL-17A, declined with LGWWJX intervention in both obese and non-obese asthmatic mice, and results from ex-vivo experiments found that LGWWJX significantly attenuated the expression of IL-17A in ILC3 cells with or without stimulation by IL-1β.
LGWWJX may exert a protective effect on asthmatic individuals, especially those with concurrent obesity, most likely through mechanisms including the inhibition of the IL-1β/ILC3/IL-17A/AHR axis, anti-inflammatory effects, weight loss, and the regulation of lipid metabolism. This suggests a promising role of LGWWJX, alone or in combination with anti-inflammatory agents, for the treatment of obese asthma.

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