Patients with asthma with obesity experience severe symptoms, are unresponsive to conventional asthma treatment, and lack proper pharmacotherapy. Empagliflozin and dulaglutide, developed for diabetes, reduce weight, decrease insulin resistance, and exert additive effects. We evaluated the efficacy of empagliflozin, dulaglutide, and their combination on obesity-induced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and lung fibrosis using a murine model. We assigned C57BL/6J mice to five groups: control, high-fat diet (HFD), and HFD with empagliflozin, dulaglutide, or both. Mice received a 12-week HFD, empagliflozin (5 days/week, oral gavage), and dulaglutide (once weekly, intraperitoneally). Both drugs significantly attenuated HFD-induced weight increase, abnormal glucose metabolism, and abnormal serum levels of leptin and insulin, and co-treatment was more effective. Both drugs significantly alleviated HFD-induced AHR, increased macrophages in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), and co-treatment was more effective on AHR. HFD-induced lung fibrosis was decreased by both drugs alone and combined. HFD induced interleukin (IL)-17, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, and IL-1β mRNA and protein expression, which was significantly reduced by empagliflozin, dulaglutide, and their combination. Tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α and IL-6 showed similar patterns without significant differences. HFD-enhanced T helper (Th) 1 and Th17 cell differentiation was improved by both drugs. Empagliflozin and dulaglutide could be a promising therapy for obesity-induced asthma and showed additive effects in combination.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (NRF-2016R1A2B4014288).
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