The Inflammatory Profile of Obesity and the Role on Pulmonary Bacterial and Viral Infections
Obesity is a globally increasing health problem, entailing diverse comorbidities such as infectious diseases. An obese weight status has marked effects on lung function that can be attributed to mechanical dysfunctions. Moreover, the alterations of adipocyte-derived signal mediators strongly influence the regulation of inflammation, resulting in chronic low-grade inflammation. Our review summarizes the known effects regarding pulmonary bacterial and viral infections. For this, we discuss model systems that allow mechanistic investigation of the interplay between obesity and lung infections. Overall, obesity gives rise to a higher susceptibility to infectious pathogens, but the pathogenetic process is not clearly defined. Whereas, viral infections often show a more severe course in obese patients, the same patients seem to have a survival benefit during bacterial infections. In particular, we summarize the main mechanical impairments in the pulmonary tract caused by obesity. Moreover, we outline the main secretory changes within the expanded adipose tissue mass, resulting in chronic low-grade inflammation. Finally, we connect these altered host factors to the influence of obesity on the development of lung infection by summarizing observations from clinical and experimental data.