Little is known about the role of most asthma susceptibility genes during human lung development. Genetic determinants for normal lung development are not only important early in life, but also for later lung function.
To investigate the role of expression patterns of well-defined asthma susceptibility genes during human and murine lung development. We hypothesized that genes influencing normal airways development would be over-represented by genes associated with asthma.
Asthma genes were first identified via comprehensive search of the current literature. Next, we analyzed their expression patterns in the developing human lung during the pseudoglandular (gestational age, 7-16 weeks) and canalicular (17-26 weeks) stages of development, and in the complete developing lung time series of 3 mouse strains: A/J, SW, C57BL6.
In total, 96 genes with association to asthma in at least two human populations were identified in the literature. Overall, there was no significant over-representation of the asthma genes among genes differentially expressed during lung development, although trends were seen in the human (Odds ratio, OR 1.22, confidence interval, CI 0.90-1.62) and C57BL6 mouse (OR 1.41, CI 0.92-2.11) data. However, differential expression of some asthma genes was consistent in both developing human and murine lung, e.g. NOD1, EDN1, CCL5, RORA and HLA-G. Among the asthma genes identified in genome wide association studies, ROBO1, RORA, HLA-DQB1, IL2RB and PDE10A were differentially expressed during human lung development.
Our data provide insight about the role of asthma susceptibility genes during lung development and suggest common mechanisms underlying lung morphogenesis and pathogenesis of respiratory diseases.
Asthma; Development; Expression; Genetics; Lung
Rationale: Polymorphisms in the gene for transforming growth factor-β1 (TGFB1) have been associated with asthma, but not with airway responsiveness or disease exacerbations in subjects with asthma.
Objectives: To test for association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in TGFB1 and markers of asthma severity in childhood.
Methods: We tested for the association between nine SNPs in TGFB1 and indicators of asthma severity (lung function, airway responsiveness, and disease exacerbations) in two cohorts: 416 Costa Rican parent-child trios and 465 families of non-Hispanic white children in the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP). We also tested for the interaction between these polymorphisms and exposure to dust mite allergen on asthma severity.
Measurements and Main Results: The A allele of promoter SNP rs2241712 was associated with increased airway responsiveness in Costa Rica (P = 0.0006) and CAMP (P = 0.005), and the C allele of an SNP in the promoter region (rs1800469) was associated with increased airway responsiveness in both cohorts (P ≤ 0.01). Dust mite exposure modified the effect of the C allele of exonic SNP rs1800471 on airway responsiveness (P = 0.03 for interactions in both cohorts). The T allele of a coding SNP (rs1982073) was associated with a reduced risk of asthma exacerbations in Costa Rica (P = 0.009) and CAMP (P = 0.005). Dust mite exposure also significantly modified the effect of the A allele of the promoter SNP rs2241712 on asthma exacerbations in both cohorts.
Conclusions: SNPs in TGFB1 are associated with airway responsiveness and disease exacerbations in children with asthma. Moreover, dust mite exposure may modify the effect of TGFB1 SNPs on airway responsiveness and asthma exacerbations.
airway responsiveness; asthma; dust mite allergen; single nucleotide polymorphisms; transforming growth factor-β1
Rationale: Independent replication of genetic associations in complex diseases, particularly in whole-genome association studies, is critical to confirm the association.
Objectives: A whole-genome association study identified ORMDL3 as a promising candidate gene for asthma in white populations. Here, we attempted to confirm the role of ORMDL3 genetic variants in asthma in three ethnically diverse populations: Mexican, Puerto Rican, and African American.
Methods: We used family-based analyses to test for association between seven candidate single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in and around the ORMDL3 gene and asthma and related phenotypes in 701 Puerto Rican and Mexican parent–child trios. We also evaluated these seven SNPs and an additional ORMDL3 SNP in 264 African American subjects with asthma and 176 healthy control subjects.
Measurements and Main Results: We found significant associations between two SNPs within ORMDL3 (rs4378650 and rs12603332) and asthma in Mexicans and African Americans (P = 0.028 and 0.001 for rs4378650 and P = 0.021 and 0.001 for rs12603332, respectively), and a trend toward association in Puerto Ricans (P = 0.076 and 0.080 for SNPs rs4378650 and rs12603332, respectively). These associations became stronger among Mexican and Puerto Rican subjects with asthma with IgE levels greater than 100 IU/ml. We did not find any association between ORMDL3 SNPs and baseline lung function or response to the bronchodilator albuterol.
Conclusions: Our results confirm that the ORMDL3 locus is a risk factor for asthma in ethnically diverse populations. However, inconsistent SNP-level results suggest that further studies will be needed to determine the mechanism by which ORMDL3 predisposes to asthma.
asthma; genetics; ORMDL3; Latinos; African Americans
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified determinants of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and lung function level, however none addressed decline in lung function.
We conducted the first GWAS on age-related decline in forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) and in its ratio to forced vital capacity (FVC) stratified a priori by asthma status.
Discovery cohorts included adults of European ancestry (1441 asthmatics, 2677 non-asthmatics; Epidemiological Study on the Genetics and Environment of Asthma (EGEA); Swiss Cohort Study on Air Pollution And Lung And Heart Disease In Adults (SAPALDIA); European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS)). The associations of FEV1 and FEV1/FVC decline with 2.5 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were estimated. Thirty loci were followed-up by in silico replication (1160 asthmatics, 10858 non-asthmatics: Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC); Framingham Heart Study (FHS); British 1958 Birth Cohort (B58C); Dutch asthma study).
Main signals identified differed between asthmatics and non-asthmatics. None of the SNPs reached genome-wide significance. The association between the height related gene DLEU7 and FEV1 decline suggested for non-asthmatics in the discovery phase was replicated (discovery P=4.8×10−6; replication P=0.03) and additional sensitivity analyses point to a relation to growth. The top ranking signal, TUSC3, associated with FEV1/FVC decline in asthmatics (P=5.3×10−8) did not replicate. SNPs previously associated with cross-sectional lung function were not prominently associated with decline.
Genetic heterogeneity of lung function may be extensive. Our results suggest that genetic determinants of longitudinal and cross-sectional lung function differ and vary by asthma status.
Asthma; cohort studies; genome-wide association; lung function decline; heterogeneity
Rationale: The basis for gender influences on allergen-specific IgEs is unclear.
Objectives: To perform regular and sex-stratified genomewide linkage analyses of IgE to each of three allergens (Ascaris lumbricoides, Blatella germanica [German cockroach]), and Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus [dust mite]) and to conduct an association study of a candidate gene in a linked genomic region.
Methods: Genomewide linkage analyses of allergen-specific IgEs were conducted in 653 members of eight large families of Costa Rican children with asthma. An analysis of the association between single-nucleotide polymorphisms in thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) and IgE measurements was conducted in 417 parent–child trios in Costa Rica. Significant results were replicated in 470 families of white children in the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP).
Measurements and Main Results: Among all subjects, there was suggestive evidence of linkage (LOD ⩾ 2.72) to IgE to Ascaris (on chromosome 7q) and IgE to dust mite (on chromosomes 7p and 12q). In a sex-stratified analysis, there was significant evidence of linkage to IgE to cockroach on chromosome 5q23 (peak LOD, 4.14 at 127 cM) in female subjects. TSLP is located within the 1.5 LOD-unit support interval for this linkage peak and has female-specific effects on lung disease in mice. In a sex-stratified analysis, the T allele of single-nucleotide polymorphism rs2289276 in TSLP was associated with reductions in IgE to cockroach (in Costa Rican girls) and total IgE (in girls in Costa Rica and in CAMP; P value for sex-by-genotype interaction, <0.01 in both studies).
Conclusions: Consistent with findings in murine models, a variant in TSLP may have female-specific effects on allergic phenotypes.
immunoglobulin E; linkage; thymic stromal lymphopoietin; single-nucleotide polymorphisms
Rationale: Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified loci influencing lung function, but fewer genes influencing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are known.
Objectives: Perform meta-analyses of GWAS for airflow obstruction, a key pathophysiologic characteristic of COPD assessed by spirometry, in population-based cohorts examining all participants, ever smokers, never smokers, asthma-free participants, and more severe cases.
Methods: Fifteen cohorts were studied for discovery (3,368 affected; 29,507 unaffected), and a population-based family study and a meta-analysis of case-control studies were used for replication and regional follow-up (3,837 cases; 4,479 control subjects). Airflow obstruction was defined as FEV1 and its ratio to FVC (FEV1/FVC) both less than their respective lower limits of normal as determined by published reference equations.
Measurements and Main Results: The discovery meta-analyses identified one region on chromosome 15q25.1 meeting genome-wide significance in ever smokers that includes AGPHD1, IREB2, and CHRNA5/CHRNA3 genes. The region was also modestly associated among never smokers. Gene expression studies confirmed the presence of CHRNA5/3 in lung, airway smooth muscle, and bronchial epithelial cells. A single-nucleotide polymorphism in HTR4, a gene previously related to FEV1/FVC, achieved genome-wide statistical significance in combined meta-analysis. Top single-nucleotide polymorphisms in ADAM19, RARB, PPAP2B, and ADAMTS19 were nominally replicated in the COPD meta-analysis.
Conclusions: These results suggest an important role for the CHRNA5/3 region as a genetic risk factor for airflow obstruction that may be independent of smoking and implicate the HTR4 gene in the etiology of airflow obstruction.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; single-nucleotide polymorphism; genes
Recent studies have shown that osteopontin, a cytokine with suggested immunoregulatory functions, may contribute to pathogenesis of asthma. To determine whether single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in SPP1, the gene encoding osteopontin, are associated with risk of asthma, we genotyped 6 known SNPs in SPP1 in the well-characterized Genetics of Asthma in Latino Americans population of 294 Mexican and 365 Puerto Rican parent–child asthma trios. The associations between SNPs and asthma or asthma-related phenotypes were examined by transmission disequilibrium tests as implemented in the family-based association test program. Three polymorphisms, 1 in exon 7 (rs1126616C) and 2 in the 3′-untranslated region (rs1126772A and rs9138A) of SPP1, were associated with diagnosis of asthma, severity of asthma, asthma in subjects with elevated immunoglobulin E (IgE) (IgE >100 IU/mL), and postbronchodilator FEV1 in Puerto Ricans (P values=0.00007–0.04). The CC genotype of rs1126616 conferred an odds ratio of 1.7 (95% CI=[1.3, 2.3], P value adjusted for multiple comparisons=0.001) for asthma compared with the CT and TT genotypes. Furthermore, haplotype analysis identified rs1126616C-rs1126772A-rs9138A to be associated with an increased risk for asthma, severity of asthma, and asthma in subjects with elevated IgE (P=0.03). There was no association between the SPP1 SNPs and asthma outcomes in Mexicans. Our findings suggest that the SPP1 gene is a risk factor for asthma and asthma-related phenotypes in Puerto Ricans, and are consistent with previous animal and human studies on the role of osteopontin in pathogenesis of asthma.
Rationale: The glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) are important detoxification enzymes.
Objectives: To investigate effects of variants in GST mu genes on lung function and assess their interactions with tobacco smoke exposure.
Methods: In this prospective study, 14,836 lung function measurements were collected from 2,108 children who participated in two Southern California cohorts. For each child, tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms in GSTM2, GSTM3, GSTM4, and GSTM5 loci were genotyped. Using principal components and haplotype analyses, the significance of each locus in relation to level and growth of FEV1, maximum midexpiratory flow rate (MMEF), and FVC was evaluated. Interactions between loci and tobacco smoke on lung function were also investigated.
Measurements and Main Results: Variation in the GST mu family locus was associated with lower FEV1 (P = 0.01) and MMEF (0.04). Two haplotypes of GSTM2 were associated with FEV1 and MMEF, with effect estimates in opposite directions. One haplotype in GSTM3 showed a decrease in growth for MMEF (−164.9 ml/s) compared with individuals with other haplotypes. One haplotype in GSTM4 showed significantly decreased growth in FEV1 (−51.3 ml), MMEF (−69.1 ml/s), and FVC (−44.4 ml), compared with all other haplotypes. These results were consistent across two independent cohorts. Variation in GSTM2 was particularly important for FVC and FEV1 among children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy.
Conclusions: Genetic variation across the GST mu locus is associated with 8-year lung function growth. Children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy and had variation in GSTM2 had lower lung function growth.
FEV1; in utero; glutathione S-transferase; tobacco smoke
Asthma is a heterogeneous disease that is caused by the interaction of genetic susceptibility with environmental influences. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) represent a powerful approach to investigate the association of DNA variants with disease susceptibility. To date, few GWAS for asthma have been reported.
GWAS was performed on a population of severe or difficult-to-treat asthmatics to identify genes that are involved in the pathogenesis of asthma.
292,443 SNPs were tested for association with asthma in 473 TENOR cases and 1,892 Illumina general population controls. Asthma-related quantitative traits (total serum IgE, FEV1, FVC, and FEV1/FVC) were also tested in identified candidate regions in 473 TENOR cases and 363 phenotyped controls without a history of asthma to further analyze GWAS results. Imputation was performed in identified candidate regions for analysis with denser SNP coverage.
Multiple SNPs in the RAD50-IL13 region on chromosome 5q31.1 were associated with asthma: rs2244012 in intron 2 of RAD50 (P = 3.04E-07). The HLA-DR/DQ region on chromosome 6p21.3 was also associated with asthma: rs1063355 in the 3’ UTR of HLA-DQB1 (P = 9.55E-06). Imputation identified several significant SNPs in the TH2 locus control region (LCR) 3’ of RAD50. Imputation also identified a more significant SNP, rs3998159 (P = 1.45E-06), between HLA-DQB1 and HLA-DQA2.
This GWAS confirmed the important role of TH2 cytokine and antigen presentation genes in asthma at a genome-wide level and the importance of additional investigation of these two regions to delineate their structural complexity and biologic function in the development of asthma.
Asthma; GWAS; RAD50; IL13; HLA-DQB1; TENOR
Variation in ADAM33 has been shown to be important in the development of asthma and altered lung function. This relationship however, has not been investigated in the population susceptible to COPD; long term tobacco smokers. We evaluated the association between polymorphisms in ADAM33 gene with COPD and lung function in long term tobacco smokers.
Caucasian subjects, at least 50 year old, who smoked ≥ 20 pack-years (n = 880) were genotyped for 25 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in ADAM33. COPD was defined as an FEV1/FVC ratio < 70% and percent-predicted (pp)FEV1 < 75% (n = 287). The control group had an FEV1/FVC ratio ≥ 70% and ppFEV1 ≥ 80% (n = 311) despite ≥ 20 pack years of smoking. Logistic and linear regressions were used for the analysis. Age, sex, and smoking status were considered as potential confounders.
Five SNPs in ADAM33 were associated with COPD (Q-1, intronic: p < 0.003; S1, Ile → Val: p < 0.003; S2, Gly → Gly: p < 0.04; V-1 intronic: p < 0.002; V4, in 3' untranslated region: p < 0.007). Q-1, S1 and V-1 were also associated with ppFEV1, FEV1/FVC ratio and ppFEF25–75 (p values 0.001 – 0.02). S2 was associated with FEV1/FVC ratio (p < 0.05). The association between S1 and residual volume revealed a trend toward significance (p value < 0.07). Linkage disequilibrium and haplotype analyses suggested that S1 had the strongest degree of association with COPD and pulmonary function abnormalities.
Five SNPs in ADAM33 were associated with COPD and lung function in long-term smokers. Functional studies will be needed to evaluate the biologic significance of these polymorphisms in the pathogenesis of COPD.
Few studies have investigated the significance of decreased FEV1 in non-COPD, nonasthmatic healthy subjects. We hypothesized that a lower FEV1 in these subjects is a potential marker of an increased susceptibility to obstructive lung disease such as asthma and COPD. This was a cross-sectional analysis of 1505 Japanese adults. We divided the population of healthy adults with no respiratory diseases whose FEV1/FVC ratio was ≥70% (n = 1369) into 2 groups according to their prebronchodilator FEV1 (% predicted) measurements: <80% (n = 217) and ≥80% (n = 1152). We compared clinical data – including gender, age, smoking habits, total IgE levels, and annual decline of FEV1 – between these 2 groups. In addition, as our group recently found that TSLP variants are associated with asthma and reduced lung function, we assessed whether TSLP single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were associated with baseline lung function in non-COPD, nonasthmatic healthy subjects (n = 1368). Although about half of the subjects with lower FEV1 had never smoked, smoking was the main risk factor for the decreased FEV1 in non-COPD, nonasthmatic subjects. However, the subjects with lower FEV1 had a significantly higher annual decline in FEV1 independent of smoking status. Airflow obstruction was associated with increased levels of total serum IgE (P = 0.029) and with 2 functional TSLP SNPs (corrected P = 0.027–0.058 for FEV1% predicted, corrected P = 0.015–0.033 for FEV1/FVC). This study highlights the importance of early recognition of a decreased FEV1 in healthy subjects without evident pulmonary diseases because it predicts a rapid decline in FEV1 irrespective of smoking status. Our series of studies identified TSLP variants as a potential susceptibility locus to asthma and to lower lung function in non-COPD, nonasthmatic healthy subjects, which may support the contention that genetic determinants of lung function influence susceptibility to asthma.
airflow obstruction; asthma; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; pulmonary function test; thymic stromal lymphopoietin
It has recently been shown that vitamin D deficiency can increase asthma development and severity and that variations in vitamin D receptor genes are associated with asthma susceptibility.
We sought to find genetic factors that might interact with vitamin D levels to affect the risk of asthma exacerbation. Methods: We conducted a genome-wide study of gene–vitamin D interaction on asthma exacerbations using population-based and family-based approaches on 403 subjects and trios from the Childhood Asthma Management Program. Twenty-three polymorphisms with significant interactions were studied in a replication analysis in 584 children from a Costa Rican cohort. Results: We identified 3 common variants in the class I MHC–restricted T cell–associated molecule gene (CRTAM) that were associated with an increased rate of asthma exacerbations based on the presence of a low circulating vitamin D level. These results were replicated in a second independent population (unadjusted combined interaction, P =.00028–.00097; combined odds ratio, 3.28–5.38). One variant, rs2272094, is a nonsynonymous coding polymorphism of CRTAM. Functional studies on cell lines confirmed the interaction of vitamin D and rs2272094 on CRTAM expression. CRTAM is highly expressed in activated human CD8+ and natural killer T cells, both of which have been implicated in asthmatic patients.
The findings highlight an important gene-environment interaction that elucidates the role of vitamin D and CD8+ and natural killer T cells in asthma exacerbation in a genome-wide gene-environment interaction study that has been replicated in an independent population. The results suggest the potential importance of maintaining adequate vitamin D levels in subsets of high-risk asthmatic patients.
Gene-environment interaction; genome-wide association study; vitamin D; asthma exacerbation
Lung function is a heritable trait and serves as an important clinical predictor of morbidity and mortality for pulmonary conditions in adults, however, despite its importance, no studies have focused on uncovering pediatric-specific loci influencing lung function. To identify novel genetic determinants of pediatric lung function, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of four pulmonary function traits, including FVC, FEV1, FEV1/FVC and FEF25–75% in 1556 children. Further, we carried out gene network analyses for each trait including all SNPs with a P-value of <1.0×10−3 from the individual GWAS. The GWAS identified SNPs with notable trends towards association with the pulmonary function measures, including the previously described INTS12 locus association with FEV1 (pmeta = 1.41×10−7). The gene network analyses identified 34 networks of genes associated with pulmonary function variables in Caucasians. Of those, the glycoprotein gene network reached genome-wide significance for all four variables. P-value range pmeta = 6.29×10−4 - 2.80×10−8 on meta-analysis. In this study, we report on specific pathways that are significantly associated with pediatric lung function at genome-wide significance. In addition, we report the first loci associated with lung function in both pediatric Caucasian and African American populations.
Rationale: Glutathione plays an important role in antioxidant and inflammatory processes in the lung. Alterations in glutathione metabolism are a central feature of several chronic lung diseases.
Objectives: To determine whether sequence variation in genes in the glutathione synthesis pathway alters susceptibility to air pollution effects on lung function.
Methods: In this prospective study, 14,821 lung function measurements were taken on 2,106 children from 12 Southern California cities. Tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms in glutathione metabolism pathway genes GSS, GSR, GCLM, and GCLC were genotyped by GoldenGate assay (Illumina, San Diego, CA). Mixed regression models were used to determine whether particular haplotypes were associated with FEV1, maximal mid-expiratory flow rate, and FVC and whether any of the genetic associations varied with levels of exposure to air pollutants.
Measurements and Main Results: We found that variation in the GSS locus was associated with differences in susceptibility of children for lung function growth deficits associated with NO2, PM10, PM2.5, elemental carbon, organic carbon, and O3. The negative effects of air pollutants were largely observed within participants who had a particular GSS haplotype. The effects ranged from −124.2 to −149.1 for FEV1, from –92.9 to −126.7 for FVC, and from −193.9 to −277.9 for maximal mid-expiratory flow rate for all pollutants except O3, which showed a larger decrease in lung function in children without this haplotype.
Conclusions: Variation in GSS was associated with differences in susceptibility to adverse effects of pollutants on lung function growth.
GSS; glutathione; lung function; oxidative stress; air pollution
Understanding the environmental and genetic risk factors of accelerated lung function decline in the general population is a first step in a prevention strategy against the worldwide increasing respiratory pathology of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Deficiency in antioxidative and detoxifying Glutathione S-transferase (GST) gene has been associated with poorer lung function in children, smokers and patients with respiratory diseases. In the present study, we assessed whether low activity variants in GST genes are also associated with accelerated lung function decline in the general adult population.
We examined with multiple regression analysis the association of polymorphisms in GSTM1, GSTT1 and GSTP1 genes with annual decline in FEV1, FVC, and FEF25–75 during 11 years of follow-up in 4686 subjects of the prospective SAPALDIA cohort representative of the Swiss general population. Effect modification by smoking, gender, bronchial hyperresponisveness and age was studied.
The associations of GST genotypes with FEV1, FVC, and FEF25–75 were comparable in direction, but most consistent for FEV1. GSTT1 homozygous gene deletion alone or in combination with GSTM1 homozygous gene deletion was associated with excess decline in FEV1 in men, but not women, irrespective of smoking status. The additional mean annual decline in FEV1 in men with GSTT1 and concurrent GSTM1 gene deletion was -8.3 ml/yr (95% confidence interval: -12.6 to -3.9) relative to men without these gene deletions. The GSTT1 effect on the FEV1 decline comparable to the observed difference in FEV1 decline between never and persistent smoking men. Effect modification by gender was statistically significant.
Our results suggest that genetic GSTT1 deficiency is a prevalent and strong determinant of accelerated lung function decline in the male general population.
We have previously shown evidence that polymorphisms within genes controlling leukotriene B4 (LTB4) production (ALOX5AP and LTA4H) are associated with asthma susceptibility in children. Evidence also suggests a potential role of LTB4 in COPD disease mechanisms including recruitment of neutrophils to the lung. The aim of the current study was to see if these SNPs and those spanning the receptor genes for LTB4 (LTB4R1 and LTB4R2) influence baseline lung function and COPD susceptibility/severity in smokers.
Eight ALOX5AP, six LTA4H and six LTB4R single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped in a UK Smoking Cohort (n = 992). Association with baseline lung function (FEV1 and FEV1/FVC ratio) was determined by linear regression. Logistic regression was used to compare smoking controls (n = 176) with spirometry-defined COPD cases (n = 599) and to more severe COPD cases (GOLD stage 3 and 4, n = 389).
No association with ALOX5AP, LTA4H or LTB4R survived correction for multiple testing. However, we showed modest association with LTA4H rs1978331C (intron 11) with increased FEV1 (p = 0.029) and with increased FEV1/FVC ratio (p = 0.020).
These data suggest that polymorphisms spanning ALOX5AP, LTA4H and the LTB4R locus are not major determinants of baseline lung function in smokers, but provide tentative evidence for LTA4H rs1978331C (intron 11) in determining baseline FEV1 and FEV1/FVC ratio in Caucasian Smokers in addition to our previously identified role in asthma susceptibility.
Most patients who develop persistent airflow limitation do so either as a manifestation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that is largely related to smoking or as a consequence of persistent asthma. We sought to compare the natural course of lung function associated with persistent airflow limitation in subjects with and without asthma from early to late adult life.
We studied 2552 participants aged 25 or more who had multiple questionnaire and lung function data from the long-term prospective population-based Tucson Epidemiological Study of Airway Obstructive Disease. Persistent airflow limitation was defined as FEV1/FVC ratio consistently < 70% in all completed surveys subsequent to the first survey with airflow limitation. Participants were divided into nine groups based on the combination of their physician-confirmed asthma status (never, onset ≤ 25 years, or onset > 25 years) and the presence of airflow limitation during the study follow-up (never, inconsistent, or persistent).
Among subjects with an asthma onset ≤ 25 years, blood eosinophilia increased significantly the odds of developing persistent airflow limitation (adjOR: 3.7, 1.4–9.5), whereas cigarette smoking was the strongest risk factor for persistent airflow limitation among non-asthmatics and among subjects with asthma onset after age 25 years. Among subjects with persistent airflow limitation, the natural course of lung function differed between subjects with asthma onset ≤ 25 years and non-asthmatics, with the former having lower FEV1 levels at age 25 (predicted value for a 175-cm tall male of 3,400 versus 4,090 ml, respectively; p<0.001) and the latter having greater FEV1 loss between age 25 and 75 (1,590 versus 2,140 ml; p=0.003).
In subjects who have asthma onset before 25 years of age and persistent airflow limitation in adult life, the bulk of the FEV1 deficit is already established before age 25 years.
asthma; COPD; eosinophilia; airflow limitation
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are transcriptional factors activated by ligands of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily. The activation of PPARγ regulates inflammation by downregulating the production of Th2 type cytokines and eosinophil function. In addition, a range of natural substances, including arachidonate pathway metabolites such as 15-hydroxyeicosatetranoic acid (15-HETE), strongly promote PPARG expression. Therefore, genetic variants of the PPARG gene may be associated with the development of aspirin-intolerant asthma (AIA). We investigated the relationship between single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) of the PPARG gene and AIA.
Based on the results of an oral aspirin challenge, asthmatics (n=403) were categorized into two groups: those with a decrease in FEV1 of 15% or greater (AIA) or less than 15% (aspirin-tolerant asthma, ATA). We genotyped two single nucleotide polymorphisms in the PPARG gene from Korean asthmatics and normal controls (n=449): +34C>G (Pro12Ala) and +82466C>T (His449His).
Logistic regression analysis showed that +82466C>T and haplotype 1 (CC) were associated with the development of aspirin hypersensitivity in asthmatics (P=0.04). The frequency of the rare allele of +82466C>T was significantly higher in AIA patients than in ATA patients in the recessive model [P=0.04, OR=3.97 (1.08-14.53)]. In addition, the frequency of PPARG haplotype 1 was significantly lower in AIA patients than in ATA patients in the dominant model (OR=0.25, P=0.04).
The +82466C>T polymorphism and haplotype 1 of the PPARG gene may be linked to increased risk for aspirin hypersensitivity in asthma.
peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors gamma; aspirin; asthma; gene; polymorphism
Prior studies suggest a role for a variant (rs5743836) in the promoter of toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) in asthma and other inflammatory diseases. We performed detailed genetic association studies of the functional variant rs5743836 with asthma susceptibility and asthma-related phenotypes in three independent cohorts.
rs5743836 was genotyped in two family-based cohorts of children with asthma and a case-control study of adult asthmatics. Association analyses were performed using chi square, family-based and population-based testing. A luciferase assay was performed to investigate whether rs5743836 genotype influences TLR9 promoter activity.
Contrary to prior reports, rs5743836 was not associated with asthma in any of the three cohorts. Marginally significant associations were found with FEV1 and FVC (p = 0.003 and p = 0.008, respectively) in one of the family-based cohorts, but these associations were not significant after correcting for multiple comparisons. Higher promoter activity of the CC genotype was demonstrated by luciferase assay, confirming the functional importance of this variant.
Although rs5743836 confers regulatory effects on TLR9 transcription, this variant does not appear to be an important asthma-susceptibility locus.
The mechanisms and consequences of the observed association between obesity and childhood asthma are unclear.
To determine the effect of obesity on treatment responses to inhaled corticosteroids in asthmatic children.
We performed a post hoc analysis to evaluate the interaction between body mass index (BMI) and treatment with inhaled budesonide on lung function in the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP) trial. Participants were then stratified into overweight/obese and non-overweight, and their response to inhaled budesonide was analyzed longitudinally over the 4 years of the trial.
There was a significant interaction between BMI and budesonide for pre-BD FEV1/FVC (P=0.0007) and bronchodilator response (BDR) (P=0.049), and a non-significant trend for an interaction between BMI and budesonide on pre-BD FEV1 (P=0.15). Non-overweight children showed significant improvement with inhaled budesonide in lung function (FEV1, FEV1/FVC, and BDR) during the early (years 1–2) and late stages (years 3–4) of the trial. Overweight/obese children had improved FEV1 and BDR during the early but not the late stage of the trial, and showed no improvement in FEV1/FVC. When comparing time points where both groups showed significant response, the degree of improvement among non-overweight children was significantly greater than in overweight/obese children at most visits. Non-overweight children had a 44% reduction in the risk of ER visits or hospitalizations throughout the trial (P=0.001); there was no reduction in risk among overweight/obese (P=0.97).
Compared to children of normal weight, overweight/obese children in CAMP showed a decreased response to inhaled budesonide on measures of lung function and ER visits/hospitalizations for asthma.
Asthma; obesity; pediatric asthma; childhood obesity; budesonide
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.
The relationship between patient-reported symptoms and objective measures of lung function is poorly understood.
To determine the association between responsiveness to bronchodilator and respiratory symptoms in random population samples.
4669 people aged 40 years and older from 8 sites in Canada completed interviewer-administered respiratory questionnaires and performed spirometry before and after administration of 200 ug of inhaled salbutamol. The effect of anthropometric variables, smoking exposure and doctor-diagnosed asthma (DDA) on bronchodilator responsiveness in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and in forced vital capacity (FVC) were evaluated. Multiple logistic regression was used to test for association between quintiles of increasing changes in FEV1 and in FVC after bronchodilator and several respiratory symptoms.
Determinants of bronchodilator change in FEV1 and FVC included age, DDA, smoking, respiratory drug use and female gender [p<0.005 to p<0.0001 ]. In subjects without doctor-diagnosed asthma or COPD, bronchodilator response in FEV1 was associated with wheezing [p for trend<0.0001], while bronchodilator response for FVC was associated with breathlessness. [p for trend <0.0001].
Bronchodilator responsiveness in FEV1 or FVC are associated with different respiratory symptoms in the community. Both flow and volume bronchodilator responses are useful parameters which together can be predictive of both wheezing and breathlessness in the general population.
Parent-of-origin (PofO) effects, such as imprinting are a phenomenon in which homologous chromosomes exhibit differential gene expression and epigenetic modifications according to their parental origin. Such non-Mendelian inheritance patterns are generally ignored by conventional association studies, as these tests consider the maternal and paternal alleles as equivalent. To identify regulatory regions that show PofO effects on gene expression (imprinted expression Quantitative Trait Loci, ieQTLs), here we have developed a novel method in which we associate SNP genotypes of defined parental origin with gene expression levels. We applied this method to study 59 HapMap phase II parent-offspring trios. By analyzing mother/father/child trios, rules of Mendelian inheritance allowed the parental origin to be defined for ∼95% of SNPs in each child. We used 680,475 informative SNPs and corresponding expression data for 92,167 probe sets from Affymetrix GeneChip Human Exon 1.0 ST arrays and performed four independent cis-association analyses with the expression level of RefSeq genes within 1 Mb using PLINK. Independent analyses of maternal and paternal genotypes identified two significant cis-ieQTLs (p<10−7) at which expression of genes SFT2D2 and SRRT associated exclusively with maternally inherited SNPs rs3753292 and rs6945374, respectively. 28 additional suggestive cis-associations with only maternal or paternal SNPs were found at a lower stringency threshold of p<10−6, including associations with two known imprinted genes PEG10 and TRAPPC9, demonstrating the efficacy of our method. Furthermore, comparison of our method that utilizes independent analyses of maternal and paternal genotypes with the Likelihood Ratio Test (LRT) showed it to be more effective for detecting imprinting effects than the LRT. Our method represents a novel approach that can identify imprinted regulatory elements that control gene expression, suggesting novel PofO effects in the human genome.
There is abundant epidemiological data linking prenatal environmental tobacco smoke with childhood asthma and wheezing, but the underlying molecular and physiological mechanisms that occur in utero to explain this link remain unelucidated. Several studies suggest that nicotine, which traverses the placenta, is a causative agent. Therefore, we studied the effects of nicotine on lung branching morphogenesis using embryonic murine lung explants. We found that the expression of α 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, which mediate many of the biological effects of nicotine, is highest in pseudoglandular stage lungs compared with lungs at later stages. We then studied the effects of nicotine in the explant model and found that nicotine stimulated lung branching in a dose-dependent fashion. α-Bungarotoxin, an antagonist of α 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, blocked the stimulatory effect of nicotine, whereas GTS-21, a specific agonist, stimulated branching, thereby mimicking the effects of nicotine. Explants deficient in α 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors did not respond to nicotine. Nicotine also stimulated the growth of the explant. Altogether, these studies suggest that nicotine stimulates lung branching morphogenesis through α 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and may contribute to dysanaptic lung growth, which in turn may predispose the host to airway disease in the postnatal period.
lung growth; nicotinic receptors
Only a few long-term follow-up studies with a focus on the association between lung function and mortality in the Japanese population have been undertaken. In this study, we examined the associations of lung function, smoking and the results of allergy skin tests with mortality in a longitudinal study of the Japanese population.
Baseline measurements were performed on residents of Fukui, Japan in 1972, and a follow-up survey was conducted in 2002. By employing a nested case-control design, 596 cases (deaths) and 596 age and sex-matched controls (survivals) were selected. Lung function was assessed using forced vital capacity (FVC) expressed as the normal percent predicted (FVC %pred) and the ratio of forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) to FVC (FEV1/FVC). Allergy skin tests were performed with extracts of house dust, candidia and mixed fungal samples (bronchomycosis). The Brinkman index was used to assess smoking intensity. The Cox proportional hazards model was used to evaluate whether lung function was associated with mortality after adjustment for other potential confounding variables.
Those categorized into the first- or second-lowest quartile of FVC %pred had a higher mortality [hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs): 2.01 (1.26–3.19) and 1.84 (1.11–3.05)], respectively. On top of these, heavy smoking (BI≥400) was associated with a higher mortality [HR and 95% CI: 1.73 (1.18–2.53)]. There were only weak of associations between the results of allergy skin tests and mortality.
These results suggest that FVC %pred of lung function and smoking can serve as long-term independent predictors of mortality.
forced vital capacity; mortality; smoking status; allergy skin tests; Japanese population