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
Epidemiological studies consistently show associations between asthma and obesity. Shared genetics may account for this association.
To identify genetic variants associated with both asthma and obesity.
Based on a literature search, we identified genes from: 1) Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of Body Mass Index (BMI) (n=17 genes), 2) GWAS of asthma (n=14) and 3) candidate gene studies of BMI and asthma (n=7). We used GWAS data from the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP) to analyze associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in these genes and asthma (n=359 subjects) and BMI (n=537).
One top BMI GWAS SNP from the literature, rs10938397 near GNPDA2, was associated with both BMI (p=4 × 10−4) and asthma (p=0.03). Of the top asthma GWAS SNPs and the candidate gene SNPs, none was found to be associated with both BMI and asthma. Gene-based analyses that included all available SNPs in each gene found associations (p<0.05) with both phenotypes for several genes: NEGR1, ROBO1, DGKG, FAIM2, FTO and CHST8 among the BMI GWAS genes; ILRL1/IL18R1, DPP10, PDE4D, MYB, PDE10A, IL33 and especially PTPRD among the asthma GWAS genes; and PRKCA among the BMI and asthma candidate genes.
SNPs within several genes showed associations to BMI and asthma at a gene level, but none of these associations were significant after correction for multiple testing. Our analysis of known candidate genes reveals some evidence for shared genetics between asthma and obesity, but other shared genetic determinants are likely to be identified in novel loci.
Association; Asthma; BMI; Children; Genetics; GWAS; Obesity; Polymorphism; SNP
Using the North American Rheumatoid Arthritis Consortium (NARAC) candidate gene and genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data sets, we applied regression methods and tree-based random forests to identify genetic associations with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and to predict RA disease status. Several genes were consistently identified as weakly associated with RA without a significant interaction or combinatorial effect with other candidate genes. Using random forests, the tested candidate gene SNPs were not sufficient to predict RA patients and normal subjects with high accuracy. However, using the top 500 SNPs, ranked by the importance score, from the genome-wide linkage panel of 5742 SNPs, we were able to accurately predict RA patients and normal subjects with sensitivity of approximately 90% and specificity of approximately 80%, which was confirmed by five-fold cross-validation. However, in a complete training-testing framework, replication of genetic predictors was less satisfactory; thus, further evaluation of existing methodology and development of new methods are warranted.
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
Asthma is a complex phenotype that is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Genome-wide linkage and association studies have been performed to identify susceptibility genes for asthma. These studies identified new genes and pathways implicated in this disease, many of which were previously unknown.
To perform a large-scale genotyping study to identify asthma-susceptibility genes in the Japanese population.
We performed a large-scale, three-stage association study on 288 atopic asthmatics and 1032 controls, by using multiplex PCR-Invader assay methods at 82,935 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (1st stage). SNPs that were strongly associated with asthma were further genotyped in samples from asthmatic families (216 families, 762 members, 2nd stage), 541 independent patients, and 744 controls (3rd stage).
SNPs located in the 5' region of PEX19 (rs2820421) were significantly associated with P < 0.05 through the 1st to the 3rd stage analyses; however, the P values did not reach statistically significant levels (combined, P = 3.8 × 10-5; statistically significant levels with Bonferroni correction, P = 6.57 × 10-7). SNPs on HPCAL1 (rs3771140) and on IL18R1 (rs3213733) were associated with asthma in the 1st and 2nd stage analyses, but the associations were not observed in the 3rd stage analysis.
No association attained genome-wide significance, but several loci for possible association emerged. Future studies are required to validate these results for the prevention and treatment of asthma.
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
Asthma is a complex phenotype influenced by genetic and environmental factors. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) with 938 Japanese pediatric asthma patients and 2,376 controls. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) showing strong associations (P<1×10−8) in GWAS were further genotyped in an independent Japanese samples (818 cases and 1,032 controls) and in Korean samples (835 cases and 421 controls). SNP rs987870, located between HLA-DPA1 and HLA-DPB1, was consistently associated with pediatric asthma in 3 independent populations (Pcombined = 2.3×10−10, odds ratio [OR] = 1.40). HLA-DP allele analysis showed that DPA1*0201 and DPB1*0901, which were in strong linkage disequilibrium, were strongly associated with pediatric asthma (DPA1*0201: P = 5.5×10−10, OR = 1.52, and DPB1*0901: P = 2.0×10−7, OR = 1.49). Our findings show that genetic variants in the HLA-DP locus are associated with the risk of pediatric asthma in Asian populations.
Asthma is the most common chronic disorder in children, and asthma exacerbation is an important cause of childhood morbidity and hospitalization. Here, taking advantage of recent technological advances in human genetics, we performed a genome-wide association study and follow-up validation studies to identify genetic variants for asthma. By examining 6,428 Asians, we found rs987870 and HLA-DPA1*0201/DPB1*0901 were associated with pediatric asthma. The association signal was stretched in the region of HLA-DPB2, collagen, type XI, alpha 2 (COL11A2), and Retinoid X receptor beta (RXRB), but strong linkage disequilibrium in this region made it difficult to specifically identify causative variants. Interestingly, the SNP (or the HLA-DP allele) associated with pediatric asthma (Th-2 type immune diseases) in the present study confers protection against Th-1 type immune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Therefore, the association results obtained in the present study could partially explain the inverse relationship between asthma and Th-1 type immune diseases and may lead to better understanding of Th-1/Th-2 immune diseases.
Genome-wide association studies of pooled DNA samples were shown to be a valuable tool to identify candidate SNPs associated to a phenotype. No such study was up to now applied to childhood allergic asthma, even if the very high complexity of asthma genetics is an appropriate field to explore the potential of pooled GWAS approach.
We performed a pooled GWAS and individual genotyping in 269 children with allergic respiratory diseases comparing allergic children with and without asthma. We used a modular approach to identify the most significant loci associated with asthma by combining silhouette statistics and physical distance method with cluster-adapted thresholding. We found 97% concordance between pooled GWAS and individual genotyping, with 36 out of 37 top-scoring SNPs significant at individual genotyping level. The most significant SNP is located inside the coding sequence of C5, an already identified asthma susceptibility gene, while the other loci regulate functions that are relevant to bronchial physiopathology, as immune- or inflammation-mediated mechanisms and airway smooth muscle contraction. Integration with gene expression data showed that almost half of the putative susceptibility genes are differentially expressed in experimental asthma mouse models.
Combined silhouette statistics and cluster-adapted physical distance threshold analysis of pooled GWAS data is an efficient method to identify candidate SNP associated to asthma development in an allergic pediatric population.
The first genome wide association study (GWAS) for childhood asthma identified a novel major susceptibility locus on chromosome 17q21 harboring the ORMDL3 gene, but the role of previous asthma candidate genes was not specifically analyzed in this GWAS. We systematically identified 89 SNPs in 14 candidate genes previously associated with asthma in >3 independent study populations. We re-genotyped 39 SNPs in these genes not covered by GWAS performed in 703 asthmatics and 658 reference children. Genotyping data were compared to imputation data derived from Illumina HumanHap300 chip genotyping. Results were combined to analyze 566 SNPs covering all 14 candidate gene loci. Genotyped polymorphisms in ADAM33, GSTP1 and VDR showed effects with p-values <0.0035 (corrected for multiple testing). Combining genotyping and imputation, polymorphisms in DPP10, EDN1, IL12B, IL13, IL4, IL4R and TNF showed associations at a significance level between p = 0.05 and p = 0.0035. These data indicate that (a) GWAS coverage is insufficient for many asthma candidate genes, (b) imputation based on these data is reliable but incomplete, and (c) SNPs in three previously identified asthma candidate genes replicate in our GWAS population with significance after correction for multiple testing in 14 genes.
The goals of asthma treatment include preventing recurrent exacerbations. Yet there is no consensus about the terminology for describing or defining “exacerbation,” or about how to characterize an episode’s severity.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) institutes and other federal agencies convened an expert group to propose how asthma exacerbation should be assessed as a standardized asthma outcome in future asthma clinical research studies.
We utilized comprehensive literature reviews and expert opinion to compile a list of asthma exacerbation outcomes, and classified them as either core (required in future studies), supplemental (used according to study aims and standardized), or emerging (requiring validation and standardization). This work was discussed at an NIH-organized workshop in March 2010 and finalized in September 2011.
No dominant definition of “exacerbation” was found. The most widely used definitions included 3 components, all related to treatment, rather than symptoms: (1) systemic use of corticosteroids, (2) asthma-specific emergency department visits or hospitalization, and (3) use of short-acting β-agonists (SABAs) as quick-relief (sometimes referred to as “rescue” or “reliever”) medications.
The working group participants propose that the definition of “asthma exacerbation” be “a worsening of asthma requiring the use of systemic corticosteroids to prevent a serious outcome.” As core outcomes, they propose inclusion and separate reporting of several essential variables of an exacerbation. Further, they propose the development of a standardized, component-based definition of “exacerbation” with clear thresholds of severity for each component.
Asthma exacerbations; severity of acute asthma; asthma outcomes; urgent asthma care
Asthma is a common chronic disease with profound impacts upon individuals and the US health care system. Inadequate health care coverage has been associated with more frequent and severe exacerbations of the disease. We examined the relationship between adequacy of health care coverage and use of emergent care of adults with asthma.
The 2001 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System was the source of data on adults with current asthma. Bivariate and multiple logistic regression analysis modeled identifiable factors in predicting urgent or emergent care.
Key variables included demographics and information on self-reported gaps in health care coverage. The primary outcome was emergency room or urgent care visits for worsening of asthma symptoms. Of 16,234 subjects nationally with current asthma, 2,195 from eight states had valid responses to a supplemental module asking about emergency room use or urgent care visits because of asthma. Thirty four percent of these individuals required such care in the previous year. Having an interruption in health care coverage in the past year was associated with an increased risk of needed urgent or emergent care (crude Odds Ratio [OR] 1.48, 95% confidence intervals [CI]1.03, 2.1). The association was not statistically significant in the adjusted multivariate model including race/ethnicity, employment status, gender, age, education and the ability to identify a primary physician (adjusted OR 1.2, 95% CI 0.8, 1.8).
This study provides population-level, generalizable evidence of increased risk of exacerbations of asthma in adults and (1) their demographic characteristics, and (2) continuous adequate health care coverage.
Many candidate genes have been studied for asthma, but replication has varied. Novel candidate genes have been identified for various complex diseases using genome-wide association studies (GWASs). We conducted a GWAS in 492 Mexican children with asthma, predominantly atopic by skin prick test, and their parents using the Illumina HumanHap 550 K BeadChip to identify novel genetic variation for childhood asthma. The 520,767 autosomal single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) passing quality control were tested for association with childhood asthma using log-linear regression with a log-additive risk model. Eleven of the most significantly associated GWAS SNPs were tested for replication in an independent study of 177 Mexican case–parent trios with childhood-onset asthma and atopy using log-linear analysis. The chromosome 9q21.31 SNP rs2378383 (p = 7.10×10−6 in the GWAS), located upstream of transducin-like enhancer of split 4 (TLE4), gave a p-value of 0.03 and the same direction and magnitude of association in the replication study (combined p = 6.79×10−7). Ancestry analysis on chromosome 9q supported an inverse association between the rs2378383 minor allele (G) and childhood asthma. This work identifies chromosome 9q21.31 as a novel susceptibility locus for childhood asthma in Mexicans. Further, analysis of genome-wide expression data in 51 human tissues from the Novartis Research Foundation showed that median GWAS significance levels for SNPs in genes expressed in the lung differed most significantly from genes not expressed in the lung when compared to 50 other tissues, supporting the biological plausibility of our overall GWAS findings and the multigenic etiology of childhood asthma.
Asthma is a leading chronic childhood disease with a presumed strong genetic component, but no genes have been definitely shown to influence asthma development. Few genetic studies of asthma have included Hispanic populations. Here, we conducted a genome-wide association study of asthma in 492 Mexican children with asthma, predominantly atopic by skin prick test, and their parents to identify novel genetic variation for childhood asthma. We implicated several polymorphisms in or near TLE4 on chromosome 9q21.31 (a novel candidate region for childhood asthma) and replicated one polymorphism in an independent study of childhood-onset asthmatics with atopy and their parents of Mexican ethnicity. Hispanics have differing proportions of Native American, European, and African ancestries, and we found less Native American ancestry than expected at chromosome 9q21.31. This suggests that chromosome 9q21.31 may underlie ethnic differences in childhood asthma and that future replication would be most effective in populations with Native American ancestry. Analysis of publicly available genome-wide expression data revealed that association signals in genes expressed in the lung differed most significantly from genes not expressed in the lung when compared to 50 other tissues, supporting the biological plausibility of the overall GWAS findings and the multigenic etiology of asthma.
The etiology and morbidity associated with asthma are thought to stem from both genetic factors and potentially modifiable environmental factors, such as viral infections.[1-7] Although it is unclear whether respiratory viral infections cause asthma, observational studies have demonstrated a high rate of asthma in children with a history of severe viral lower respiratory tract infections during infancy, and viruses are the associated with the majority of asthma exacerbations among both children and adults. This review will discuss the pathogens associated with virus-induced wheezing illnesses during infancy and early childhood, the association of bronchiolitis during infancy with an increased risk of childhood asthma, and the association of respiratory viruses with asthma exacerbations in older children and adults.
viruses; respiratory tract infections; asthma
Bronchodilator response (BDR) is an important asthma phenotype that measures reversibility of airway obstruction by comparing lung function (i.e. FEV1) before and after the administration of a short-acting β2-agonist, the most common rescue medications used for the treatment of asthma. BDR also serves as a test of β2-agonist efficacy. BDR is a complex trait that is partly under genetic control. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) of BDR, quantified as percent change in baseline FEV1 after administration of a β2-agonist, was performed with 1,644 non-Hispanic white asthmatic subjects from six drug clinical trials: CAMP, LOCCS, LODO, a medication trial conducted by Sepracor, CARE, and ACRN. Data for 469,884 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were used to measure the association of SNPs with BDR using a linear regression model, while adjusting for age, sex, and height. Replication of primary P-values was attempted in 501 white subjects from SARP and 550 white subjects from DAG. Experimental evidence supporting the top gene was obtained via siRNA knockdown and Western blotting analyses. The lowest overall combined P-value was 9.7E-07 for SNP rs295137, near the SPATS2L gene. Among subjects in the primary analysis, those with rs295137 TT genotype had a median BDR of 16.0 (IQR = [6.2, 32.4]), while those with CC or TC genotypes had a median BDR of 10.9 (IQR = [5.0, 22.2]). SPATS2L mRNA knockdown resulted in increased β2-adrenergic receptor levels. Our results suggest that SPATS2L may be an important regulator of β2-adrenergic receptor down-regulation and that there is promise in gaining a better understanding of the biological mechanisms of differential response to β2-agonists through GWAS.
Bronchodilator response (BDR) is an important asthma phenotype that measures reversibility of airway obstruction by comparing lung function before and after the administration of short-acting β2-agonists, common medications used for asthma treatment. We performed a genome-wide association study of BDR with 1,644 white asthmatic subjects from six drug clinical trials and attempted to replicate these findings in 1,051 white subjects from two independent cohorts. The most significant associated variant was near the SPATS2L gene. We knocked down SPATS2L mRNA in human airway smooth muscle cells and found that β2-adrenergic receptor levels increased, suggesting that SPATS2L may be a regulator of BDR. Our results highlight the promise of pursuing GWAS results that do not necessarily reach genome-wide significance and are an example of how results from pharmacogenetic GWAS can be studied functionally.
Allergic diseases such as bronchial asthma and atopic dermatitis develop by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Several candidate causative genes of asthma and atopy have been reported as the genetic factors. The clinical features of patients and causes of diseases vary. Therefore, personalized medicine (tailor-made medicine) is necessary for the improvement of quality of life (QOL) and for asthma cure. Pharmacogenetics is very important for personalized medicine. Here, we present the genetics and pharmacogenetics of asthma in children. Finally, we show the guideline for personalized medicine for asthma, particularly in childhood, including the pharmacogenetics of anti-asthmatic drugs, preliminarily produced by the authors.
Pharmacogenetics; asthma; individualized medicine
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have helped to reveal genetic mechanisms of complex diseases. Although commonly used genotyping technology enables us to determine up to a million single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), causative variants are typically not genotyped directly. A favored approach to increase the power of genome-wide association studies is to impute the untyped SNPs using more complete genotype data of a reference population.
Random forests (RF) provides an internal method for replacing missing genotypes. A forest of classification trees is used to determine similarities of probands regarding their genotypes. These proximities are then used to impute genotypes of untyped SNPs.
We evaluated this approach using genotype data of the Framingham Heart Study provided as Problem 2 for Genetic Analysis Workshop 16 and the Caucasian HapMap samples as reference population. Our results indicate that RFs are faster but less accurate than alternative approaches for imputing untyped SNPs.
Asthma exacerbations may be triggered by a number of atmospheric and domiciliary environmental factors as well as by those encountered in schools and workplaces. The majority of exacerbations, particularly in children, coincide with respiratory viral infections, most commonly rhinovirus. As most respiratory viruses and many aeroallergens appear in seasonal patterns, asthma exacerbations, particularly those requiring emergency treatment, show analogous seasonal cycles which differ in form in children and adults. While similar in form between the sexes, they differ in amplitude, with boys having higher risks of exacerbation in childhood and women in adult life. Simultaneous exposure of asthmatics with respiratory viral infections to allergens or air pollutants may significantly increase the risks of exacerbation. Access to and compliance with inhaled corticosteroid treatment is an important predictor of the likelihood of asthma exacerbations occurring, including those that occur during respiratory viral infections. Epidemiologically, the degree of asthma control achieved by asthmatics is an important predictor of the likelihood of disease exacerbation including respiratory failure, death, and health service consumption.
asthma; exacerbation; epidemiology; seasons; allergen; anti‐asthmatic drugs
Rationale: Chitinases are enzymes that cleave chitin, which is present in fungal cells. Two types of human chitinases, chitotriosidase and acidic mammalian chitinase, and the chitinase-like protein, YKL-40, seem to play an important role in asthma. We hypothesized that exposure to environmental fungi may modulate the effect of chitinases in individuals with asthma.
Objectives: To explore whether interactions between high fungal exposure and common genetic variants in the two chitinases in humans, CHIT1 and CHIA, and the chitinase 3-like 1 gene, CHI3L1, are associated with severe asthma exacerbations and other asthma-related outcomes.
Methods: Forty-eight single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in CHIT1, CHIA, and CHI3L1 and one CHIT1 duplication were genotyped in 395 subjects and their parents as part of the Childhood Asthma Management Program. Household levels of mold (an index of fungal exposure) were determined on house dust samples. We conducted family-based association tests with gene–environment interactions. Our outcome was severe exacerbation, defined as emergency department visits and hospitalizations from asthma over a 4-year period, and our secondary outcomes included indices of lung function and allergy-related phenotypes.
Measurements and Main Results: Of the 395 subjects who had mold levels at randomization, 24% (95 subjects) had levels that were greater than 25,000 units per gram of house dust (high mold exposure). High mold exposure significantly modified the relation between three SNPs in CHIT1 (rs2486953, rs4950936, and rs1417149) and severe exacerbations (P for interaction 0.0010 for rs2486953, 0.0008 for rs4950936, and 0.0005 for rs1417149). High mold exposure did not significantly modify the relationship between any of the other variants and outcomes.
Conclusions: Environmental exposure to fungi, modifies the effect of CHIT1 SNPs on severe asthma exacerbations.
chitinase; asthma; CHIA; CHIT1; CHI13L1
Background: General practitioners (GPs) have a central place in the management of asthma, particularly in the context of acute exacerbations.
Aim: To evaluate the management of asthma exacerbations by GPs, and to investigate the ability of risk factors for near fatal asthma to predict the severity of asthma attacks in the community.
Design of study: A 1-month multicentre cross-sectional survey.
Setting: One thousand and ninety-four GPs of the French Sentinel Network were contacted; 365 responded.
Methods: Asthma exacerbations were classified according to severity at presentation. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed by logistic regression to identify those factors associated with severe exacerbations.
Results: Exacerbations were described in 219 patients with asthma. Over half (54%) of exacerbations were severe. Peak expiratory flow was recorded during the consultation in 55% of patients who were more than 5 years old. ß2 agonists were prescribed to 93% of patients, systemic corticosteroids to 71%, and antibiotics to 64%. Only 42% of patients had a written action plan for self-management of exacerbations. Risk factors for near fatal asthma, identified in 26% of patients, were not significantly associated with severe asthma exacerbations. Short duration of exacerbation before consultation (<3 hours) was associated with an increase in relative risk of severe exacerbation of 3.38, 95% confidence intervals (CIs) = 1.19 to 9.61, compared with duration of >3 hours.
Conclusion: Risk factors for near fatal asthma identified in previous studies were not predictive of a severe exacerbation in general practice, with the exception of short duration of exacerbation before consultation. This suggests that new methods to predict risk in the outpatient settings should be developed.
Asthma; general practitioners; patient care management; risk factors
Asthma is a highly prevalent chronic respiratory disease affecting 300 million people worldwide. A significant fraction of the cost and morbidity of asthma derives from acute care for asthma exacerbations. In the United States alone, there are approximately 15.0 million outpatient visits, 2 million emergency room visits, and 500,000 hospitalizations each year for management of acute asthma. Common respiratory viruses, especially rhinoviruses, cause the majority of exacerbations in children and adults. Infection of airway epithelial cells with rhinovirus causes the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, as well as recruitment of inflammatory cells, particularly neutrophils, lymphocytes, and eosinophils. The host response to viral infection is likely to influence susceptibility to asthma exacerbation.
Having had at least one exacerbation is an important risk factor for recurrent exacerbations suggesting an “exacerbation-prone” subset of asthmatics. Factors underlying for the “exacerbation-prone” phenotype are incompletely understood but include extrinsic factors: cigarette smoking, medication noncompliance, psychosocial factors, and co-morbidities such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, rhinosinusitis, obesity, and intolerance to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications; as well as intrinsic factors such as deficient epithelial cell production of the anti-viral type I interferons (IFN-α and IFN-β). A better understanding of the biologic mechanisms of host susceptibility to recurrent exacerbations will be important for developing more effective preventions and treatments aimed at reducing the significant cost and morbidity associated with this important global health problem.
Childhood asthma is a growing public health concern in low-income urban communities. Indoor exposure to asthma triggers has emerged as an important cause of asthma exacerbations. We describe indoor environmental conditions related to asthma triggers among a low-income urban population in Seattle/King County, Washington, as well as caregiver knowledge and resources related to control of these triggers.
Data are obtained from in-person, structured, closed-end interviews with the caretakers of children aged 4–12 years with persistent asthma living in households with incomes less than 200% of poverty. Additional information is collected during a home inspection. The children and their caregivers are participants in the ongoing Seattle-King County Healthy Homes Project, a randomized controlled trial of an intervention to empower low-income families to reduce exposure to indoor asthma triggers. We report findings on the conditions of the homes prior to this intervention among the first 112 enrolled households.
A smoker was present in 37.5% of homes. Mold was visible in 26.8% of homes, water damage was present in 18.6% of homes, and damp conditions occurred in 64.8% of households, while 39.6% of caregivers were aware that excessive moisture can increase exposures to allergens. Dust-trapping reservoirs were common; 76.8% of children's bedrooms had carpeting. Cockroach infestation in the past 3 months was reported by 23.4% of caregivers, while 57.1% were unaware of the association of roaches and asthma. Only 19.8% of the children had allergy-control mattress covers.
Many low-income urban children with asthma in King County live in indoor environments that place them at substantial risk of ongoing exposure to asthma triggers. Substandard housing and lack of resources often underlie these exposures. Initiatives involving health educators, outreach workers, medical providers, health care insurers, housing agencies, and elected officials are needed to reduce these exposures.
Asthma; Child; Indoor Air Pollution; Indoor Environment; Knowledge/Behaviors; Low-Income Populations
In the United States, asthma is the most common chronic disease of childhood across all socioeconomic classes and is the most frequent cause of hospitalization among children. Asthma exacerbations have been associated with exposure to residential indoor environmental stressors such as allergens and air pollutants as well as numerous additional factors. Simulation modeling is a valuable tool that can be used to evaluate interventions for complex multifactorial diseases such as asthma but in spite of its flexibility and applicability, modeling applications in either environmental exposures or asthma have been limited to date.
We designed a discrete event simulation model to study the effect of environmental factors on asthma exacerbations in school-age children living in low-income multi-family housing. Model outcomes include asthma symptoms, medication use, hospitalizations, and emergency room visits. Environmental factors were linked to percent predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1%), which in turn was linked to risk equations for each outcome. Exposures affecting FEV1% included indoor and outdoor sources of NO2 and PM2.5, cockroach allergen, and dampness as a proxy for mold.
Model design parameters and equations are described in detail. We evaluated the model by simulating 50,000 children over 10 years and showed that pollutant concentrations and health outcome rates are comparable to values reported in the literature. In an application example, we simulated what would happen if the kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans were improved for the entire cohort, and showed reductions in pollutant concentrations and healthcare utilization rates.
We describe the design and evaluation of a discrete event simulation model of pediatric asthma for children living in low-income multi-family housing. Our model simulates the effect of environmental factors (combustion pollutants and allergens), medication compliance, seasonality, and medical history on asthma outcomes (symptom-days, medication use, hospitalizations, and emergency room visits). The model can be used to evaluate building interventions and green building construction practices on pollutant concentrations, energy savings, and asthma healthcare utilization costs, and demonstrates the value of a simulation approach for studying complex diseases such as asthma.
Asthma; Simulation; Indoor; Housing; Air pollution; Lung function; Allergen; Green building
Asthma in childhood is a heterogeneous disease with different phenotypes and variable clinical manifestations, which depend on the age, gender, genetic background, and environmental influences of the patients. Several longitudinal studies have been conducted to classify the phenotypes of childhood asthma, on the basis of the symptoms, triggers of wheezing illness, or pathophysiological features of the disease. These studies have provided us with important information about the different wheezing phenotypes in young children and about potential mechanisms and risk factors for the development of chronic asthma. The goal of these studies was to provide a better insight into the causes and natural course of childhood asthma. It is well-known that complicated interactions between genes and environmental factors contribute to the development of asthma. Because childhood is a period of rapid growth in both the lungs and the immune system, developmental factors should be considered in the pathogenesis of childhood asthma. The pulmonary system continues to grow and develop until linear growth is completed. Longitudinal studies have reported significant age-related immune development during postnatal early life. These observations suggest that the phenotypes of childhood asthma vary among children and also in an individual child over time. Improved classification of heterogeneous conditions of the disease will help determine novel strategies for primary and secondary prevention and for the development of individualized treatment for childhood asthma.
Asthma; Phenotype; Child
To evaluate phenotypic and genetic variables associated with a poor long-term response to inhaled corticosteroid therapy for asthma, based independently on lung function changes or asthma exacerbations.
Materials & methods
We tested 17 phenotypic variables and polymorphisms in FCER2 and CRHR1 in 311 children (aged 5–12 years) randomized to a 4-year course of inhaled corticosteroid during the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP).
Predictors of recurrent asthma exacerbations are distinct from predictors of poor lung function response. A history of prior asthma exacerbations, younger age and a higher IgE level (p < 0.05) are associated with recurrent exacerbations. By contrast, lower bronchodilator response to albuterol and the minor alleles of RS242941 in CRHR1 and T2206C in FCER2 (p < 0.05) are associated with poor lung function response. Poor lung function response does not increase the risk of exacerbations and vice versa (p = 0.72).
Genetic and phenotypic predictors of a poor long-term response to inhaled corticosteroids differ markedly depending on definition of outcome (based on exacerbations vs lung function). These findings are important in comparing outcomes of clinical trials and in designing future pharmacogenetic studies.
asthma; corticosteroid; exacerbation; lung function; pharmacogenetics
Exacerbations are a major cause of morbidity in asthma and generate high health costs. Identification and management of adults with asthma who are prone to exacerbations is of considerable importance as by this means it should be possible to reduce the number of patients who currently experience inadequately controlled disease. Exacerbations occur most frequently in individuals with severe disease. Other risk factors include a history of a recent exacerbation, co-morbidities such as a raised body mass index and psychological problems as well as current smoking and lower socio-economic status. A low FEV1, particularly if combined with the additional information from questionnaires helps predict exacerbations. Despite the association between these risk factors and exacerbations it remains difficult to accurately predict in an individual patient with asthma whether they will go on to develop an exacerbation in the future. A major aim of international guidelines on the management of asthma is to prevent future risks of exacerbations, but some patients, particularly those with severe disease, respond poorly to current therapies and continue to experience recurrent exacerbations.
There is an unmet need for improved management strategies and drugs targeted at preventing asthma exacerbations. Monitoring induced sputum eosinophil cell counts is helpful in preventing exacerbations in some patient with severe asthma. Future developments are likely to include the identification of better biomarkers to predict exacerbations or the cause of exacerbations, augmentation of the immunological response to viruses at the time of the exacerbation, the use of telemonitoring in patients with severe asthma and the development of improved therapies targeted at reducing exacerbations.