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1.  An epidemiological study of lung cancer in Xuan Wei County, China: current progress. Case-control study on lung cancer and cooking fuel. 
In Xuan Wei County, Yunnan Province, lung cancer mortality rates are among China's highest in males and females. Previous studies have shown a strong association of lung cancer mortality with air pollution from "smoky" coal combustion. In the present quantitative risk assessment of indoor air pollution study, the result strongly shows an obvious on-site exposure-response relationship between benzo[a]pyrene concentration in indoor air and lung cancer mortality and strongly supports the hypothesis that indoor air pollution is the main risk factor in inducing lung cancer in Xuan Wei County. In the present case-control study, the result shows that in females, the presence of lung cancer is statistically significantly associated with chronic bronchitis and family history of lung cancer. The results also suggest an association of lung cancer with duration of cooking food, but not with passive smoking. In males, the presence of lung cancer is associated with smoking, bronchitis, family history of lung cancer, and personal history of cooking food.
PMCID: PMC1567943  PMID: 1954946
Respiratory medicine  2009;103(12):1866-1870.
Common genetic variation may play an important role in altering chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) risk. In Xuanwei, China, the COPD rate is more than twice the Chinese national average, and COPD is strongly associated with in-home coal use. To identify genetic variation that may be associated with COPD in a population with substantial in-home coal smoke exposures, we evaluated 1,261 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 380 candidate genes potentially relevant for cancer and other human diseases in a population-based case-control study in Xuanwei (53 cases; 107 controls). PTEN was the most significantly associated gene with COPD in a minP analysis using 20,000 permutations (P = 0.00005). SNP-based analyses found that homozygote variant carriers of PTEN rs701848 (ORTT = 0.12, 95%CI = 0.03 - 0.47) had a significant decreased risk of COPD. PTEN, or phosphatase and tensin homolog, is an important regulator of cell cycle progression and cellular survival via the AKT signaling pathway. Our exploratory analysis suggests that genetic variation in PTEN may be an important risk factor of COPD in Xuanwei. However, due to the small sample size, additional studies are needed to evaluate these associations within Xuanwei and other populations with coal smoke exposures.
PMCID: PMC2783799  PMID: 19625176
COPD; cell cycle; apoptosis; AKT; PTEN
3.  Polymorphisms in innate immunity genes and lung cancer risk in Xuanwei, China 
The high incidence of lung cancer in Xuanwei County, China has been attributed to exposure to indoor smoky coal emissions that contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The inflammatory response induced by coal smoke components may promote lung tumor development. We studied the association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in genes involved in innate immunity and lung cancer risk in a population-based case-control study (122 cases and 122 controls) in Xuanwei. A total of 1,360 tag SNPs in 149 gene regions were included in the analysis. FCER2 rs7249320 was the most significant SNP (OR: 0.30; 95% CI: 0.16–0.55; P, 0.0001; false discovery rate value, 0.13) for variant carriers. The gene regions ALOX12B/ALOX15B and KLK2 were associated with increased lung cancer risk globally (false discovery rate value < 0.15). In addition, there were positive interactions between KLK15 rs3745523 and smoky coal use (OR: 9.40; P interaction = 0.07), and between FCER2 rs7249320 and KLK2 rs2739476 (OR: 10.77; P interaction = 0.003). Our results suggest that genetic polymorphisms in innate immunity genes may play a role in the carcinogenesis of lung cancer caused by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-containing coal smoke. Integrin/receptor and complement pathways as well as IgE regulation are particular noteworthy.
PMCID: PMC2666781  PMID: 19170196
lung cancer; innate immunity; single nucleotide polymorphism; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon; coal; FERC2; KLK
4.  Mitochondrial DNA Content and Lung Cancer Risk 
Smoky coal contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and has been strongly implicated in etiology of lung cancer in Xuan Wei, China. While PAHs have been demonstrated to form bulky adducts in nuclear DNA, they have a 90-fold greater affinity for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). To compensate for mitochondrial dysfunction or damage, mtDNA content is thought to increase. We conducted a population-based case-control study of lung cancer in Xuan Wei, China hypothesizing that mtDNA content is associated with lung cancer risk. Cases (n = 122) and controls (n = 121) were individually matched on age (±2yrs), sex, village of residence, and type of heating/cooking fuel currently used. Lifetime smoky coal use and potential confounders were determined with questionnaires. mtDNA was extracted from sputum and content was determined with quantitative RT-PCR. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated with unconditional logistic regression. mtDNA content was dichotomized at the median based on the distribution among the controls. mtDNA content > 157 was associated with a 2-fold increase in lung cancer risk (OR = 1.8; 95% CI = 1.0–3.2) compared with those with ≤157 copies. Risk was higher among those >57 years of age compared with those ≤ 57 years (p interaction = 0.01). In summary, mtDNA content was positively associated with lung cancer risk. Furthermore, there was some evidence that mtDNA content was more strongly associated with lung cancer risk among older individuals. However, due to the small sample size, additional studies are needed to evaluate these associations.
PMCID: PMC2966769  PMID: 18691788
5.  DNA adducts as biomarkers for assessing exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in tissues from Xuan Wei women with high exposure to coal combustion emissions and high lung cancer mortality. 
The high lung cancer rate in Xuan Wei, China, is associated with smoky coal use in unvented homes, but not with wood or smokeless coal use. Smoky coal combustion emits higher polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations than wood combustion. This study used DNA adducts as biomarkers for human exposure to PAH from combustion emissions. DNA adducts were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) in placentas and peripheral and cord white blood cells (WBC) from Xuan Wei women burning smoky coal or wood and from Beijing women using natural gas. Color ELISA gave positive results in 58, 47, and 5% of the placentas from Xuan Wei women burning smoky coal without and with chimneys, and from Beijing women, respectively. Fluorescence ELISA indicated that 46, 65, 56, and 25% of placentas were positive from Xuan Wei women who lived in houses without and with chimneys, Xuan Wei women burning wood, and Beijing controls, respectively. Peripheral WBC samples were positive in 7/9, 8/9, and 3/9 for the Xuan Wei women who lived in houses without and with chimneys and Beijing women, respectively. PAH-DNA adducts were detected in a higher percentage of placentas from Xuan Wei women living in houses exposed to smoky coal or wood emissions than from those of the Beijing controls. No dose-response relationship was observed between the air benzo[alpha]pyrene concentrations and DNA adduct levels or percentage of detectable samples. The results suggest that DNA adducts can be used as a qualitative biomarker to assess human exposure to combustion emissions.
PMCID: PMC1567066  PMID: 8319664
6.  SERPINE2 Polymorphisms and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2009;24(6):1119-1125.
A number of genome-wide linkage analyses have identified the 2q33.3-2q37.2 region as most likely to contain the genes that contribute to the susceptibility to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It was hypothesized that the SERPINE2 gene, which is one of the genes located at the 2q33.3-2q37.2 region, may act as a low-penetrance susceptibility gene for COPD. To test this hypothesis, the association of four SERPINE2 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs; rs16865421A>G, rs7583463A>C, rs729631C>G, and rs6734100C>G) with the risk of COPD was investigated in a case-control study of 311 COPD patients and 386 controls. The SNP rs16865421 was associated with a significantly decreased risk of COPD in a dominant model for the polymorphic allele (adjusted odds ratio [OR]=0.66, 95% confidence interval [CI]=0.45-0.97, P=0.03). In haplotype analysis, the GACC haplotype carrying the polymorphic allele at the rs16865421 was associated with a significantly decreased risk of COPD when compared to the AACC haplotype (adjusted OR=0.58, 95% CI=0.38-0.89, P=0.01), and this effect was evident in younger individuals (adjusted OR=0.30, 95% CI=0.14-0.64, P=0.002). This study suggests that the SERPINE2 gene contributes to the susceptibility to COPD.
PMCID: PMC2775861  PMID: 19949669
Serpine2; Polymorphism; Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive
7.  Genetic Variants Associated with the Risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease with and without Lung Cancer 
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a strong risk factor for lung cancer. Published studies regarding variations of genes encoding glutathione metabolism, DNA repair, and inflammatory response pathways in susceptibility to COPD were inconclusive.
We evaluated 470 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 56 genes of these 3 pathways in 620 cases and 893 controls to identify susceptibility markers for COPD risk, using existing resources. We assessed SNP- and gene-level effects adjusting for sex, age, and smoking status. Differential genetic effects on disease risk with and without lung cancer were also assessed; cumulative risk models were established.
Twenty-one SNPs were found to be significantly associated with risk of COPD (P<0.01); gene-based analyses confirmed 2 genes (GCLC and GSS) and identified 3 additional (GSTO2, ERCC1, and RRM1). Carrying 12 high-risk alleles may increase risk by 2.7-fold; 8 SNPs altered COPD risk with lung cancer 3.1-fold, and 4 SNPs altered the risk without lung cancer 2.3-fold.
Our findings indicate that multiple genetic variations in the 3 selected pathways contribute to COPD risk through GCLC, GSS, GSTO2, ERCC1, and RRM1 genes. Functional studies are needed to elucidate the mechanisms of these genes in the development of COPD, lung cancer, or both.
PMCID: PMC3414259  PMID: 22044695
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; Glutathione Metabolism Pathway; DNA Repair Pathway; Inflammatory Response Pathway
8.  Variation in lung cancer risk by smoky coal subtype in Xuanwei, China 
Lung cancer rates in Xuanwei County have been among the highest in China for both males and females, and have been causally associated with exposure to indoor smoky (bituminous) coal emissions that contain very high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. There are numerous coal mines across the County. Although lung cancer risk is strongly associated with use of smoky coal as a whole, variation in risk by smoky coal subtype has not been characterized as yet. We conducted a population-based case-control study of 498 lung cancer cases and 498 controls, individually matched to case subjects on age (±2 years) and sex, to examine risk by coal subtype. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for coal subtype were calculated by conditional logistic regression, adjusting for potential confounders. Overall, smoky coal use was statistically significantly associated with lung cancer risk, as compared to use of smokeless coal or wood (OR=7.7, 95% CI=4.5 to 13.3). Furthermore, there was marked heterogeneity in risk estimates for specific subtypes of smoky coal (test for heterogeneity: p=5.17 × 10−10). Estimates were highest for coal from the Laibin (OR=24.8, 95% CI=12.4 to 49.6) and Longtan (OR=11.6, 95% CI = 5.0 to 27.2) coal types, and lower for coal from other types. These findings strongly suggest that in Xuanwei and elsewhere, the carcinogenic potential of coal combustion products can exhibit substantial local variation by specific coal source.
PMCID: PMC2974309  PMID: 18712724
Coal; lung cancer; indoor air pollution; Xuanwei; China
9.  SOX5 Is a Candidate Gene for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Susceptibility and Is Necessary for Lung Development 
Rationale: Chromosome 12p has been linked to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the Boston Early-Onset COPD Study (BEOCOPD), but a susceptibility gene in that region has not been identified.
Objectives: We used high-density single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) mapping to implicate a COPD susceptibility gene and an animal model to determine the potential role of SOX5 in lung development and COPD.
Methods: On chromosome 12p, we genotyped 1,387 SNPs in 386 COPD cases from the National Emphysema Treatment Trial and 424 control smokers from the Normative Aging Study. SNPs with significant associations were then tested in the BEOCOPD study and the International COPD Genetics Network. Based on the human results, we assessed histology and gene expression in the lungs of Sox5−/− mice.
Measurements and Main Results: In the case-control analysis, 27 SNPs were significant at P ≤ 0.01. The most significant SNP in the BEOCOPD replication was rs11046966 (National Emphysema Treatment Trial–Normative Aging Study P = 6.0 × 10−4, BEOCOPD P = 1.5 × 10−5, combined P = 1.7 × 10−7), located 3′ to the gene SOX5. Association with rs11046966 was not replicated in the International COPD Genetics Network. Sox5−/− mice showed abnormal lung development, with a delay in maturation before the saccular stage, as early as E16.5. Lung pathology in Sox5−/− lungs was associated with a decrease in fibronectin expression, an extracellular matrix component critical for branching morphogenesis.
Conclusions: Genetic variation in the transcription factor SOX5 is associated with COPD susceptibility. A mouse model suggests that the effect may be due, in part, to its effects on lung development and/or repair processes.
PMCID: PMC3137139  PMID: 21330457
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; emphysema; knockout mice; lung development; single nucleotide polymorphism
10.  The Role of Circulating Serotonin in the Development of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31617.
Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor in the development of age-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The serotonin transporter (SERT) gene polymorphism has been reported to be associated with COPD, and the degree of cigarette smoking has been shown to be a significant mediator in this relationship. The interrelation between circulating serotonin (5-hydroxytyptamine, 5-HT), cigarette smoking and COPD is however largely unknown. The current study aimed at investigating the mediation effects of plasma 5-HT on cigarette smoking-induced COPD and the relation between plasma 5-HT levels and age.
The association between plasma 5-HT, age and COPD was analyzed in a total of 62 COPD patients (ever-smokers) and 117 control subjects (healthy non-smokers and ever-smokers). Plasma 5-HT levels were measured by enzyme-linked immuno assay (EIA).
The elevated plasma 5-HT levels were significantly associated with increased odds for COPD (OR = 1.221, 95% CI = 1.123 to 1.319, p<0.0001). The effect remained significant after being adjusted for age and pack-years smoked (OR = 1.271, 95% CI = 1.134 to 1.408, p = 0.0003). Furthermore, plasma 5-HT was found to mediate the relation between pack-years smoked and COPD. A positive correlation (r = 0.303, p = 0.017) was found between plasma 5-HT levels and age in COPD, but not in the control subjects (r = −0.149, p = 0.108).
Our results suggest that cigarette smoke-induced COPD is partially mediated by the plasma levels of 5-HT, and that these become elevated with increased age in COPD. The elevated plasma 5-HT levels in COPD might contribute to the pathogenesis of this disease.
PMCID: PMC3272036  PMID: 22319639
11.  CHRNA3/5, IREB2, and ADCY2 Are Associated with Severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in Poland 
We examined the association between single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) previously associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and/or lung function with COPD and COPD-related phenotypes in a novel cohort of patients with severe to very severe COPD. We examined 315 cases of COPD and 330 Caucasian control smokers from Poland. We included three SNPs previously associated with COPD: rs7671167 (FAM13A), rs13180 (IREB2), and rs8034191 (CHRNA 3/5), and four SNPs associated with lung function in a genome-wide association study of general population samples: rs2070600 (AGER), rs11134242 (ADCY2), rs4316710 (THSD4), and rs17096090 (INTS12). We tested for associations with severe COPD and COPD-related phenotypes, including lung function, smoking behavior, and body mass index. Subjects with COPD were older (average age 62 versus 58 years, P < 0.01), with more pack-years of smoking (45 versus 33 pack-years, P < 0.01). CHRNA3/5 (odds ratio [OR], 1.89; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.5–2.4; P = 7.4 × 10−7), IREB2 (OR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.5–0.9; P = 3.4 × 10−3), and ADCY2 (OR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.1–1.7; P = 0.01) demonstrated significant associations with COPD. FAM13A (OR, 0.8; 95% CI, 0.7–1.0; P = 0.11) approached statistical significance. FAM13A and ADCY2 also demonstrated a significant association with lung function. Thus, in severe to very severe COPD, we demonstrate a replication of association between two SNPs previously associated with COPD (CHRNA3/5 and IREB2), as well as an association with COPD of one locus initially associated with lung function (ADCY2).
PMCID: PMC3423462  PMID: 22461431
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; genetic association analysis; lung function; smoking; nicotine addiction
12.  Genetic Polymorphism of Matrix Metalloproteinase Family and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Susceptibility: a Meta-analysis 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:2818.
Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family is considered to be associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) pathogenesis, however, no consistent results have been provided by previous studies. In this report, we performed Meta analysis to investigate the association between four kinds of MMP single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP, MMP1 -1607 1G/2G, MMP3 -1171 5A/6A, MMP9 -1562 C/T, MMP12 -82 A/G) and COPD risk from 21 studies including 4184 cases and 5716 controls. Both overall and subgroup association between SNP and COPD susceptibility were tested. There was no evident association between MMP polymorphisms and COPD susceptibility in general population. On the other hand, subgroup analysis suggested that MMP9 -1562 C/T polymorphism was related to COPD, as we found that C allele carriers were at lower risk in some subgroups stratified by lung function, age and genotype identification method, compared with TT homozygotes. Our results indicated the genotype TT might be one genetic risk factor of severe COPD.
PMCID: PMC3788362  PMID: 24085258
13.  Pathway-based evaluation of 380 candidate genes and lung cancer susceptibility suggests the importance of the cell cycle pathway 
Carcinogenesis  2008;29(10):1938-1943.
Common genetic variation may play an important role in altering lung cancer risk. We conducted a pathway-based candidate gene evaluation to identify genetic variations that may be associated with lung cancer in a population-based case–control study in Xuan Wei, China (122 cases and 111 controls). A total of 1260 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 380 candidate genes for lung cancer were successfully genotyped and assigned to one of 10 pathways based on gene ontology. Logistic regression was used to assess the marginal effect of each SNP on lung cancer susceptibility. The minP test was used to identify statistically significant associations at the gene level. Important pathways were identified using a test of proportions and the rank truncated product methods. The cell cycle pathway was found as the most important pathway (P = 0.044) with four genes significantly associated with lung cancer (PLA2G6 minP = 0.001, CCNA2 minP = 0.006, GSK3β minP = 0.007 and EGF minP = 0.013), after adjusting for multiple comparisons. Interestingly, most cell cycle genes that were associated with lung cancer in this analysis were concentrated in the AKT signaling pathway, which is essential for regulation of cell cycle progression and cellular survival, and may be important in lung cancer etiology in Xuan Wei. These results should be viewed as exploratory until they are replicated in a larger study.
PMCID: PMC2722857  PMID: 18676680
COPD  2010;7(4):262-268.
Superoxide dismutase-3 (SOD3) is a major extracellular antioxidant enzyme, and previous studies have indicated a possible role of this gene in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We hypothesized that polymorphisms in the SOD3 gene would be associated with COPD and COPD-related phenotypes.
We genotyped three SOD3 polymorphisms (rs8192287 (E1), rs8192288 (I1) and rs1799895 (R213G)) in a case-control cohort, with severe COPD cases from the National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT, n=389) and smoking controls from the Normative Aging Study (NAS, n=472). We examined whether the SNPs were associated with COPD status, lung function variables, and quantitative CT measurements of emphysema and airway wall thickness. Further, we tried to replicate our initial findings in two family-based studies, the International COPD Genetics Network (ICGN, n=3061) and the Boston Early-Onset COPD Study (EOCOPD, n=949).
In NETT COPD cases, the minor alleles of SNPs E1 and I1 were associated with a higher percentage of emphysema (%LAA950) on chest CT scan (p=0.029 and p=0.0058). The association with E1 was replicated in the ICGN family study, where the minor allele was associated with more emphysema (p=0.048). Airway wall thickness was positively associated with the E1 SNP in ICGN; however, this finding was not confirmed in NETT. Quantitative CT data were not available in EOCOPD. The SNPs were not associated with lung function variables or COPD status in any of the populations.
In conclusion, polymorphisms in the SOD3 gene were associated with CT emphysema but not COPD susceptibility, highlighting the importance of phenotype definition in COPD genetics studies.
PMCID: PMC2923920  PMID: 20673035
15.  Functional Polymorphisms of CHRNA3 Predict Risks of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Lung Cancer in Chinese 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e46071.
Recently, several genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified many susceptible single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer which are two closely related diseases. Among those SNPs, some of them are shared by both the diseases, reflecting there is possible genetic similarity between the diseases. Here we tested the hypothesis that whether those shared SNPs are common predictor for risks or prognosis of COPD and lung cancer. Two SNPs (rs6495309 and rs1051730) located in nicotinic acetylcholine receptor alpha 3 (CHRNA3) gene were genotyped in 1511 patients with COPD, 1559 lung cancer cases and 1677 controls in southern and eastern Chinese populations. We found that the rs6495309CC and rs6495309CT/CC variant genotypes were associated with increased risks of COPD (OR = 1.32, 95% C.I. = 1.14–1.54) and lung cancer (OR = 1.57; 95% CI = 1.31–1.87), respectively. The rs6495309CC genotype contributed to more rapid decline of annual Forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) in both COPD cases and controls (P<0.05), and it was associated with advanced stages of COPD (P = 0.033); the rs6495309CT/CC genotypes conferred a poor survival for lung cancer (HR = 1.41, 95%CI = 1.13–1.75). The luciferase assays further showed that nicotine and other tobacco chemicals had diverse effects on the luciferase activity of the rs6495309C or T alleles. However, none of these effects were found for another SNP, rs1051730G>A. The data show a statistical association and suggest biological plausibility that the rs6495309T>C polymorphism contributed to increased risks and poor prognosis of both COPD and lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC3463594  PMID: 23056235
16.  Analysis of Exonic Elastin Variants in Severe, Early-Onset Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
The destruction of elastic fibers has been implicated in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Emphysema has been described in autosomal dominant cutis laxa, which can be caused by mutations in the elastin gene. Previously, a rare functional mutation in the terminal exon of elastin was found in a case of severe, early-onset COPD. To test the hypothesis that other similar elastin mutations may predispose to COPD, we screened 90 probands from the Boston Early-Onset COPD Study and 90 smoking control subjects from the Normative Aging Study for mutations in elastin exons using high-resolution DNA melt analysis followed by resequencing. Rare nonsynonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) seen only in cases were examined for segregation with airflow obstruction within pedigrees. Common nonsynonymous SNPs were tested for association with COPD in a family-based analysis of 949 subjects from the Boston Early-Onset COPD Study, and in a case–control analysis in 389 COPD cases from the National Emphysema Treatment Trial and 472 control subjects from the Normative Aging Study. Of 28 elastin variants found, 3 were nonsynonymous SNPs found only in cases. The previously described Gly773Asp mutation was found in another proband. The other two SNPs did not clearly segregate with COPD within families. Two common nonsynonymous SNPs did not demonstrate significant associations in either a family-based or case–control analysis. Exonic SNPs in the elastin gene do not appear to be common risk factors for severe COPD.
PMCID: PMC2689920  PMID: 19029017
elastin; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; emphysema; genetic polymorphism
17.  A Functional Polymorphism in the CHRNA3 Gene and Risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in a Korean Population 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2012;27(12):1536-1540.
A genome-wide association study has identified the 15q25 region as being associated with the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Caucasians. This study intended as a confirmatory assessment of this association in a Korean population. The rs6495309C > T polymorphism in the promoter of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor alpha subunit 3 (CHRNA3) gene was investigated in a case-control study that consisted of 406 patients with COPD and 394 healthy control subjects. The rs6495309 CT or TT genotype was associated with a significantly decreased risk of COPD when compared to the rs6495309 CC genotype (adjusted odds ratio = 0.69, 95% confidence interval = 0.50-0.95, P = 0.023). The effect of the rs6495309C > T on the risk of COPD was more evident in moderate to very severe COPD than in mild COPD under a dominant model for the variant T allele (P = 0.024 for homogeneity). The CHRNA3 rs6495309C > T polymorphism on chromosome 15q25 is associated with the risk of COPD in a Korean population.
PMCID: PMC3524434  PMID: 23255854
CHRNA3; Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive; Polymorphism
18.  Involvement of surfactant protein D in emphysema revealed by genetic association study 
Surfactant protein D (SFTPD) induces emphysema in knockout mice, but the association of SFTPD with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema in humans is unclear. Therefore, we aimed to determine the association between genetic variations in SFTPD and susceptibility to COPD and emphysema.
Two populations were studied: population A comprised 270 smokers, including 188 COPD and 82 at-risk subjects, and population B comprised 1131 autopsy cases including 160 cases with emphysema. Six single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that tagged the linkage disequilibrium blocks on the entire SFTPD gene were genotyped; the associations of the genotypes with COPD, pulmonary function, percentage of the low-attenuation area (LAA%), and percentage of the airway wall area (WA%) were determined in population A. In population B, the associations of the genotypes with emphysema were assessed.
A C allele at SNP rs721917 that results in the replacement of Met with Thr at position 11 in SFTPD was positively correlated with the LAA% in the upper lung (P=1.1 × 10−5) and overall LAA% (P=1.0 × 10−4), and negatively correlated with the serum concentration of SFTPD (P=7 × 10−11) in the population A. The C/C (rs721917/rs10887199) haplotype was associated with emphysema in both the populations.
Subjects with a C allele at rs721917 have a lower serum SFTPD concentration and are more susceptible to emphysema. This suggests a protective effect of SFTPD against COPD and emphysema.
PMCID: PMC3260918  PMID: 21934714
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; emphysema; genetic variation; pulmonary surfactant-associated protein D
19.  The Association of SERPINE2 Gene with COPD in a Chinese Han Population 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2011;52(6):953-960.
Polymorphisms of several candidate genes have been studied and associated with the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). One such candidate is the SERPINE2 (Serpin peptidase inhibitor, clade E member 2) gene.
Materials and Methods
To assess whether the SERPINE2 gene is associated with COPD in a Chinese Han population. Samples were collected from a Chinese Han population and analyzed for the association of single nucleotide polymor phisms (SNPs) or haplotypes of SERPINE2 gene with COPD in a case-control study. Three SNPs including rs840088 G/A in intron 1, rs1438831 A/G in 5' upstream sequence and rs3795879 G/A in intron 3 were detected using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based restriction fragment length polymorphism technique in 409 COPD subjects and 411 controls. Genotyping of the SREPINE2 polymorphisms at positions rs840088, rs1438831and rs3795879 was performed.
We found that none of the rs840088G/A, rs1438831G/A and rs3795879 G/A polymorphisms were associated with the disease. The p-values were 0.630, 0.208 and 0.398 respectively.
Our data suggested that there was no significant association between SERPINE2 polymorphism and COPD susceptibility in the Chinese Han population.
PMCID: PMC3220248  PMID: 22028159
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; SERPINE2 gene; polymorphism; susceptibility
20.  PLAUR polymorphisms and lung function in UK smokers 
BMC Medical Genetics  2009;10:112.
We have previously identified Urokinase Plasminogen Activator Receptor (PLAUR) as an asthma susceptibility gene. In the current study we tested the hypothesis that PLAUR single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) determine baseline lung function and contribute to the development of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in smokers.
25 PLAUR SNPs were genotyped in COPD subjects and individuals with smoking history (n = 992). Linear regression was used to determine the effects of polymorphism on baseline lung function (FEV1, FEV1/FVC) in all smokers. Genotype frequencies were compared in spirometry defined smoking controls (n = 176) versus COPD cases (n = 599) and COPD severity (GOLD stratification) using logistic regression.
Five SNPs showed a significant association (p < 0.01) with baseline lung function; rs2302524(Lys220Arg) and rs2283628(intron 3) were associated with lower and higher FEV1 respectively. rs740587(-22346), rs11668247(-20040) and rs344779(-3666) in the 5'region were associated with increased FEV1/FVC ratio. rs740587 was also protective for COPD susceptibility and rs11668247 was protective for COPD severity although no allele dose relationship was apparent. Interestingly, several of these associations were driven by male smokers not females.
This study provides tentative evidence that the asthma associated gene PLAUR also influences baseline lung function in smokers. However the case-control analyses do not support the conclusion that PLAUR is a major COPD susceptibility gene in smokers. PLAUR is a key serine protease receptor involved in the generation of plasmin and has been implicated in airway remodelling.
PMCID: PMC2784766  PMID: 19878584
21.  Analyses of association between PPAR gamma and EPHX1 polymorphisms and susceptibility to COPD in a Hungarian cohort, a case-control study 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:152.
In addition to smoking, genetic predisposition is believed to play a major role in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Genetic association studies of new candidate genes in COPD may lead to improved understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease.
Two proposed casual single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) (rs1051740, rs2234922) in microsomal epoxide hydrolase (EPHX1) and three SNPs (rs1801282, rs1800571, rs3856806) in peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARG), a new candidate gene, were genotyped in a case-control study (272 COPD patients and 301 controls subjects) in Hungary. Allele frequencies and genotype distributions were compared between the two cohorts and trend test was also used to evaluate association between SNPs and COPD. To estimate the strength of association, odds ratios (OR) (with 95% CI) were calculated and potential confounding variables were tested in logistic regression analysis. Association between haplotypes and COPD outcome was also assessed.
The distribution of imputed EPHX1 phenotypes was significantly different between the COPD and the control group (P = 0.041), OR for the slow activity phenotype was 1.639 (95% CI = 1.08- 2.49; P = 0.021) in our study. In logistic regression analysis adjusted for both variants, also age and pack-year, the rare allele of His447His of PPARG showed significant association with COPD outcome (OR = 1.853, 95% CI = 1.09-3.14, P = 0.0218). In haplotype analysis the GC haplotype of PPARG (OR = 0.512, 95% CI = 0.27-0.96, P = 0.035) conferred reduced risk for COPD.
The "slow" activity-associated genotypes of EPHX1 were associated with increased risk of COPD. The minor His447His allele of PPARG significantly increased; and the haplotype containing the minor Pro12Ala and the major His447His polymorphisms of PPARG decreased the risk of COPD.
PMCID: PMC2988760  PMID: 21044285
22.  Identification of a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease genetic determinant that regulates HHIP 
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;21(6):1325-1335.
Multiple intergenic single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) near hedgehog interacting protein (HHIP) on chromosome 4q31 have been strongly associated with pulmonary function levels and moderate-to-severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, whether the effects of variants in this region are related to HHIP or another gene has not been proven. We confirmed genetic association of SNPs in the 4q31 COPD genome-wide association study (GWAS) region in a Polish cohort containing severe COPD cases and healthy smoking controls (P = 0.001 to 0.002). We found that HHIP expression at both mRNA and protein levels is reduced in COPD lung tissues. We identified a genomic region located ∼85 kb upstream of HHIP which contains a subset of associated SNPs, interacts with the HHIP promoter through a chromatin loop and functions as an HHIP enhancer. The COPD risk haplotype of two SNPs within this enhancer region (rs6537296A and rs1542725C) was associated with statistically significant reductions in HHIP promoter activity. Moreover, rs1542725 demonstrates differential binding to the transcription factor Sp3; the COPD-associated allele exhibits increased Sp3 binding, which is consistent with Sp3's usual function as a transcriptional repressor. Thus, increased Sp3 binding at a functional SNP within the chromosome 4q31 COPD GWAS locus leads to reduced HHIP expression and increased susceptibility to COPD through distal transcriptional regulation. Together, our findings reveal one mechanism through which SNPs upstream of the HHIP gene modulate the expression of HHIP and functionally implicate reduced HHIP gene expression in the pathogenesis of COPD.
PMCID: PMC3284120  PMID: 22140090
23.  A Genome-Wide Association Study in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): Identification of Two Major Susceptibility Loci 
PLoS Genetics  2009;5(3):e1000421.
There is considerable variability in the susceptibility of smokers to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The only known genetic risk factor is severe deficiency of α1-antitrypsin, which is present in 1–2% of individuals with COPD. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in a homogenous case-control cohort from Bergen, Norway (823 COPD cases and 810 smoking controls) and evaluated the top 100 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the family-based International COPD Genetics Network (ICGN; 1891 Caucasian individuals from 606 pedigrees) study. The polymorphisms that showed replication were further evaluated in 389 subjects from the US National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT) and 472 controls from the Normative Aging Study (NAS) and then in a fourth cohort of 949 individuals from 127 extended pedigrees from the Boston Early-Onset COPD population. Logistic regression models with adjustments of covariates were used to analyze the case-control populations. Family-based association analyses were conducted for a diagnosis of COPD and lung function in the family populations. Two SNPs at the α-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (CHRNA 3/5) locus were identified in the genome-wide association study. They showed unambiguous replication in the ICGN family-based analysis and in the NETT case-control analysis with combined p-values of 1.48×10−10, (rs8034191) and 5.74×10−10 (rs1051730). Furthermore, these SNPs were significantly associated with lung function in both the ICGN and Boston Early-Onset COPD populations. The C allele of the rs8034191 SNP was estimated to have a population attributable risk for COPD of 12.2%. The association of hedgehog interacting protein (HHIP) locus on chromosome 4 was also consistently replicated, but did not reach genome-wide significance levels. Genome-wide significant association of the HHIP locus with lung function was identified in the Framingham Heart study (Wilk et al., companion article in this issue of PLoS Genetics; doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000429). The CHRNA 3/5 and the HHIP loci make a significant contribution to the risk of COPD. CHRNA3/5 is the same locus that has been implicated in the risk of lung cancer.
Author Summary
There is considerable variability in the susceptibility of smokers to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is a heritable multi-factorial trait. Identifying the genetic determinants of COPD risk will have tremendous public health importance. This study describes the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) in COPD. We conducted a GWAS in a homogenous case-control cohort from Norway and evaluated the top 100 single nucleotide polymorphisms in the family-based International COPD Genetics Network. The polymorphisms that showed replication were further evaluated in subjects from the US National Emphysema Treatment Trial and controls from the Normative Aging Study and then in a fourth cohort of extended pedigrees from the Boston Early-Onset COPD population. Two polymorphisms in the α-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor 3/5 locus on chromosome 15 showed unambiguous evidence of association with COPD. This locus has previously been implicated in both smoking behavior and risk of lung cancer, suggesting the possibility of multiple functional polymorphisms in the region or a single polymorphism with wide phenotypic consequences. The hedgehog interacting protein (HHIP) locus on chromosome 4, which is associated with COPD, is also a significant risk locus for COPD.
PMCID: PMC2650282  PMID: 19300482
24.  Genetic Variations in ADIPOQ Gene Are Associated with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50848.
Adiponectin is reported to be related to the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Genetic variants in the gene encoding adiponectin (ADIPOQ) have been reported to be associated with adiponectin level in several genome–wide linkage and association studies. However, relatively little is known about the effects of ADIPOQ gene variants on COPD susceptibility. We determined the frequencies of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in ADIPOQ in a Chinese Han population and their possible association with COPD susceptibility.
We conducted a case–control study of 279 COPD patients and 367 age- and gender-distribution-matched control subjects. Seven tagging SNPs in ADIPOQ, including rs710445, rs16861205, rs822396, rs7627128, rs1501299, rs3821799 and rs1063537 were genotyped by SNaPshot. Association analysis of genotypes/alleles and haplotypes constructed from these loci with COPD was conducted under different genetic models.
The alleles or genotypes of rs1501299 distributed significantly differently in COPD patients and controls (allele: P = 0.002, OR = 1.43 and 95%CI = 1.14–1.79; genotype: P = 0.008). The allele A at rs1501299 was potentially associated with an increased risk of COPD in all dominant model analysis (P = 0.009; OR: 1.54; 95%CI: 1.11–2.13), recessive model analyses (P = 0.015; OR: 1.75; 95% CI: 1.11–2.75) and additive model analyses (P = 0.003; OR: 2.11; 95% CI: 1.29–3.47). In haplotype analysis, we observed haplotypes AAAAACT and GGACCTC had protective effects, while haplotypes AGAACTC, AGGCCTC, GGAACTC, GGACACT and GGGCCTC were significantly associated with the increased risk of COPD.
We conducted the first investigation of the association between the SNPs in ADIPOQ and COPD risk. Our current findings suggest that ADIPOQ may be a potential risk gene for COPD. Further studies in larger groups are warranted to confirm our results.
PMCID: PMC3508992  PMID: 23209832
25.  Genome-Wide Association Analysis of Blood Biomarkers in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
Rationale: A genome-wide association study (GWAS) for circulating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) biomarkers could identify genetic determinants of biomarker levels and COPD susceptibility.
Objectives: To identify genetic variants of circulating protein biomarkers and novel genetic determinants of COPD.
Methods: GWAS was performed for two pneumoproteins, Clara cell secretory protein (CC16) and surfactant protein D (SP-D), and five systemic inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, IL-6, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor-α) in 1,951 subjects with COPD. For genome-wide significant single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (P < 1 × 10−8), association with COPD susceptibility was tested in 2,939 cases with COPD and 1,380 smoking control subjects. The association of candidate SNPs with mRNA expression in induced sputum was also elucidated.
Measurements and Main Results: Genome-wide significant susceptibility loci affecting biomarker levels were found only for the two pneumoproteins. Two discrete loci affecting CC16, one region near the CC16 coding gene (SCGB1A1) on chromosome 11 and another locus approximately 25 Mb away from SCGB1A1, were identified, whereas multiple SNPs on chromosomes 6 and 16, in addition to SNPs near SFTPD, had genome-wide significant associations with SP-D levels. Several SNPs affecting circulating CC16 levels were significantly associated with sputum mRNA expression of SCGB1A1 (P = 0.009–0.03). Several SNPs highly associated with CC16 or SP-D levels were nominally associated with COPD in a collaborative GWAS (P = 0.001–0.049), although these COPD associations were not replicated in two additional cohorts.
Conclusions: Distant genetic loci and biomarker-coding genes affect circulating levels of COPD-related pneumoproteins. A subset of these protein quantitative trait loci may influence their gene expression in the lung and/or COPD susceptibility.
Clinical trial registered with (NCT 00292552).
PMCID: PMC3622441  PMID: 23144326
biomarker; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; genome-wide association study

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