Obese people often have problems in breathing.
The problems include shortness of breath and more serious ones like obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS), which could be life-threatening.
In a new study, researchers aimed to find why obesity could lead to respiratory problems.
The research was conducted by a team led Michigan Medicine endocrinologists.
Previous studies have shown that …
In the current study, the team examined obesity-related respiratory dysfunction in mice.
They placed mice on a high-fat diet in which 45% of their caloric intake came from fats.
Then they measured diaphragm motion by ultrasound during a six-month period.
They wanted to see if alterations in diaphragm structure, movement and strength occurred when these animals became obese.
They found after six months of feeding, obese mice’s diaphragm motion on ultrasound was largely reduced compared to lean mice eating a normal diet.
The team further found that the diaphragm muscle itself was compromised in obese mice.
After analyzing the anatomy of the diaphragm, they found large inclusions of fat cells and higher deposits of collagen than normal surrounding muscle cells.
They also examined the cellular source for these increased fat cells and collagens surrounding the diaphragm.
They found obesity could activate these cells to rapidly increase in number, ultimately leading the diaphragm to become fatty and fibrotic.
The study findings help show the impact obesity has on the most important muscle in the body, the diaphragm.
The researchers hope their findings could help develop a translational clinic to improve the diagnosis and treatment of OHS.
The lead authors of the study are Eric Buras and Tae-Hwa Chun.
The study is published in Diabetes.
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Further reading: Diabetes.