Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tall and thin not so great for lung disease

Date:
January 23, 2013
Source:
National Jewish Health
Summary:
Tall, thin women face a greater risk of infection with nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), cousins of the organism that causes tuberculosis, according to researchers. Women with NTM infections also showed a weakened immune response.

Tall, thin women face a greater risk of infection with nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), cousins of the organism that causes tuberculosis, according to researchers at National Jewish Health. Women with NTM infections also showed a weakened immune response associated with their fat cells, in a paper published in the current issue of The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care.

"Nontuberculous mycobacteria are widespread in the environment, yet only some people develop infections," said Edward Chan, MD, senior author and professor of medicine at National Jewish Health. "These findings help us identify who is at greater risk for the disease, and may point to more effective therapies down the road."

There are dozens of NTM species. Although the organisms can infect skin and other body parts, they most commonly infect the lungs. Lung infections are very difficult to treat, often requiring surgery and years of therapy with powerful intravenous antibiotics. NTM infections can be fatal. Evidence suggests that infections have been rising in recent decades.

NTM species are widespread in water and soil, yet only about five to six people per 100,000 develop NTM infections each year; the incidence is higher in individuals older than 50. An estimated 30,000 to 120,000 people in the US currently have NTM infections. Researchers at National Jewish Health, which sees more NTM infections than any other medical center in the world, tried to figure out why only some exposed patients develop these difficult infections.

Elderly women represent the vast majority of NTM patients, accounting for 85 percent of the patients seen at National Jewish Health during the study, and averaging about 64 years of age. The researchers chose to compare the NTM patients with control subjects at an osteoporosis clinic because these individuals were similar age, race, and gender as the NTM patients.

When compared to the women visiting the osteoporosis clinic, the NTM patients were on average almost two inches taller, had body mass indices almost two points lower and 5.7 pounds less fat on their bodies. The NTM patients also more frequently had concave chests, a condition known as pectus excavatum, and scoliosis, or curvature of the spine.

"Tall, thin women definitely appear to be more susceptible to NTM infections," said Dr. Chan. "They share some characteristics of people with Marfan syndrome. Since Marfan syndrome is caused by a mutation in the fibrillin-1 gene, we plan to look at that gene as a potential source of NTM susceptibility."

In addition to body type, NTM patients also differed in their immune response. Fat cells produce hormones, leptin and adiponectin, known to regulate both weight and immune function. Leptin production generally increases as people grow fatter. It also helps stimulate the immune system to fight infections. Adiponectin, an immunosuppressive hormone, generally decreases as people grow fatter. While these standard relationships held for the control subjects, they broke down for NTM patients with levels of these fat-derived hormones varying only minimally with body fat in NTM patients.

"In addition to body type, NTM patients also appeared to have some dysregulation of their immune response, which could increase their susceptibility to NTM infections," said co-author Michael Iseman, MD, professor of medicine at National Jewish Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Jewish Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Kartalija, A. R. Ovrutsky, C. L. Bryan, G. B. Pott, G. Fantuzzi, J. Thomas, M. J. Strand, X. Bai, P. Ramamoorthy, M. S. Rothman, V. Nagabhushanam, M. McDermott, A. R. Levin, A. Frazer-Abel, P. C. Giclas, J. Korner, M. D. Iseman, L. Shapiro, E. D. Chan. Patients with Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Lung Disease Exhibit Unique Body and Immune Phenotypes. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 2012; 187 (2): 197 DOI: 10.1164/rccm.201206-1035OC

Cite This Page:

National Jewish Health. "Tall and thin not so great for lung disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130123165046.htm>.
National Jewish Health. (2013, January 23). Tall and thin not so great for lung disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130123165046.htm
National Jewish Health. "Tall and thin not so great for lung disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130123165046.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple has delayed the launch of the HealthKit app platform, citing a bug. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Haitians receive the second dose of the vaccine against cholera as part of the UN's vaccination campaign. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) Doctors once thought artificial sweeteners lacked the health risks of sugar, but a new study says they can impact blood sugar levels the same way. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Trial Gets Underway at Oxford University

Ebola Vaccine Trial Gets Underway at Oxford University

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) A healthy British volunteer is to become the first person to receive a new vaccine for the Ebola virus after US President Barack Obama called for action against the epidemic and warned it was "spiralling out of control." Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins