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Introduction: People with asthma and obesity struggle to control asthma flares. B2 agonists are often the acute treatment of choice during these flares, so the decreased asthma control in this population may be due to a decrease in B2 receptor activity. We tested the hypothesis that B2 receptor expression will decrease in airway smooth muscle cells exposed to Palmitic Acid, a saturated fatty acid, compared to Oleic Acid and untreated cells.

Methods: Airway smooth muscle cells were plated and treated with Palmitic Acid and Oleic Acid at 100uM and 200uM concentrations while other untreated cells served as controls. Cells were lysed at 24 and 48 hours and their RNA was harvested for expansion using PCR with B2 and GAPDH primers. RT-PCR was used to quantify RNA expression. GAPDH was used as an expression control to normalize B2 values for each condition and the resulting dCq values for each condition were compared.

Results: The Palmitic Acid group did not show significant decrease in B2 expression compared to the control or Oleic Acid groups. This was consistent across all concentrations and time points. There was no significant change in receptor expression for any condition.

Discussion: These results did not support our hypothesis that B2 expression would decrease in cells treated with Palmitic Acid. The expression of this receptor and its activity is not regulated as we hypothesized illustrating need to explore other factors that may contribute to the difference of the B2 receptor agonist response in obese people with asthma.