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1.  Airway Hyperresponsiveness and Quality of Life in Western Red Cedar Asthmatics Removed from Exposure 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e50774.
Objectives
Most western red cedar asthmatics (WRCA) continue to have symptoms even after removal from exposure. Consequently, health-related quality of life (HRQL) is often impaired. The objective of this study was to evaluate the relationship between two measures of AHR and HRQL scores in those with WRCA.
Methods
HRQL was determined by the short form 36 (SF-36) in 46 male, non-smoking individuals with WRCA removed from exposure to western red cedar, on average, 15 years earlier. The relationships between the SF-36 total score and its eight domains with 2 indices from methacholine-stimulated airway hyperresponsiveness (the provocative concentration of methacholine causing a 20% fall in FEV1 [PC20] and bronchial reactivity index [BRI]) were analyzed by the Pearson correlation and multiple linear regression.
Results
PC20 was significantly correlated with the SF-36 total score and its two domains of bodily pain and general health (r = 0.34, 0.40, 0.40, p = 0.023, 0.006, 0.006, respectively). BRI was significantly correlated with bodily pain and general health (r = −0.35, −0.42, p = 0.017, 0.004, respectively); correlations remain significant after adjusting for age, ethnicity, years since diagnosis, years since last exposure and use of inhaled corticosteroid. BRI and other measures of airway responsiveness were not associated with inhaled corticosteroids use.
Conclusions
In Western red cedar asthmatics removed from exposure, measures of airway responsiveness are associated with HRQL.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050774
PMCID: PMC3514170  PMID: 23226539
2.  Selection of Suitable Housekeeping Genes for Real-Time Quantitative PCR in CD4+ Lymphocytes from Asthmatics with or without Depression 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e48367.
Objective
No optimal housekeeping genes (HKGs) have been identified for CD4+ T cells from non-depressive asthmatic and depressive asthmatic adults for normalizing quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) assays. The aim of present study was to select appropriate HKGs for gene expression analysis in purified CD4+ T cells from these asthmatics.
Methods
Three groups of subjects (Non-depressive asthmatic, NDA, n = 10, Depressive asthmatic, DA, n = 11, and Healthy control, HC, n = 10 respectively) were studied. qPCR for 9 potential HKGs, namely RNA, 28S ribosomal 1 (RN28S1), ribosomal protein, large, P0 (RPLP0), actin, beta (ACTB), cyclophilin A (PPIA), glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), phosphoglycerate kinase 1 (PGK1), beta-2-microglobulin (B2M), glucuronidase, beta (GUSB) and ribosomal protein L13a (RPL13A), was performed. Then the data were analyzed with three different applications namely BestKeeper, geNorm, and NormFinder.
Results
The analysis of gene expression data identified B2M and RPLP0 as the most stable reference genes and showed that the level of PPIA was significantly different among subjects of three groups when the two best HKGs identified were applied. Post-hoc analysis by Student-Newman-Keuls correction shows that depressive asthmatics and non-depressive asthmatics exhibited lower expression level of PPIA than healthy controls (p<0.05).
Conclusions
B2M and RPLP0 were identified as the most optimal HKGs in gene expression studies involving human blood CD4+ T cells derived from normal, depressive asthmatics and non-depressive asthmatics. The suitability of using the PPIA gene as the HKG for such studies was questioned due to its low expression in asthmatics.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048367
PMCID: PMC3480507  PMID: 23110234
3.  Effect of heme oxygenase-1 polymorphisms on lung function and gene expression 
BMC Medical Genetics  2011;12:117.
Background
Oxidative stress induced by smoking is considered to be important in the pathogenesis of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Heme oxygenase-1 (HMOX1) is an essential enzyme in heme catabolism that is induced by oxidative stress and may play a protective role as an antioxidant in the lung. We determined whether HMOX1 polymorphisms were associated with lung function in COPD patients and whether the variants had functional effects.
Methods
We genotyped five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the HMOX1 gene in Caucasians who had the fastest (n = 278) and the slowest (n = 304) decline of FEV1 % predicted, selected from smokers in the NHLBI Lung Health Study. These SNPs were also studied in Caucasians with the lowest (n = 535) or the highest (n = 533) baseline lung function. Reporter genes were constructed containing three HMOX1 promoter polymorphisms and the effect of these polymorphisms on H2O2 and hemin-stimulated gene expression was determined. The effect of the HMOX1 rs2071749 SNP on gene expression in alveolar macrophages was investigated.
Results
We found a nominal association (p = 0.015) between one intronic HMOX1 SNP (rs2071749) and lung function decline but this did not survive correction for multiple comparisons. This SNP was in perfect linkage disequilibrium with rs3761439, located in the promoter of HMOX1. We tested rs3761439 and two other putatively functional polymorphisms (rs2071746 and the (GT)n polymorphism) in reporter gene assays but no significant effects on gene expression were found. There was also no effect of rs2071749 on HMOX1 gene expression in alveolar macrophages.
Conclusions
We found no association of the five HMOX1 tag SNPs with lung function decline and no evidence that the three promoter polymorphisms affected the regulation of the HMOX1 gene.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-12-117
PMCID: PMC3180266  PMID: 21902835
Heme oxygenase; polymorphism; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
4.  ROLE OF GENETIC SUSCEPTIBILITY TO LATENT ADENOVIRAL INFECTION AND DECREASED LUNG FUNCTION 
Respiratory medicine  2009;103(11):1672-1680.
Background
Latent adenoviral infection may amplify cigarette smoke-induced lung inflammation and therefore play an important role in the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Adenoviruses can evade the human immune response via their 19-kDa protein (19K) which delays the expression of class I human leukocyte antigen (HLA) proteins. The 19K protein shows higher affinity to HLA-B7 and A2 compared with HLA-A1 and A3. The receptor for adenovirus (CXADR) and integrin β5 (ITGB5) are host factors which might affect adenovirus infection. Therefore, we investigated the contribution of HLA, CXADR, and ITGB5 genetic variants to the presence of the E1A gene and to level of lung function.
Methods
Study subjects were assayed for HLA-B7, A1, A2 and A3 by PCR-based assays using allele-specific primers. Polymorphisms of the CXADR and ITGB5 genes were genotyped by PCR-based restriction fragment length polymorphism assays. Detection of adenoviral E1A gene was performed by a real-time PCR TaqMan assay.
Results
E1A positive individuals have a lower FEV1 compared with E1A negative individuals. However, there was no significant difference in E1A positivity rate between the high (HLA-B7 and A2) and low (HLA-A1 and A3) 19K affinity groups. There was also no significant difference in FEV1 level between each affinity group. There was no significant difference in E1A positivity rate or lung function among the CXADR and ITGB5 genotypes.
Conclusions
Genetic variants in HLA, CXADR and ITGB5 do not influence latent adenoviral infections and are not associated with COPD.
doi:10.1016/j.rmed.2009.05.008
PMCID: PMC2757510  PMID: 19502044
5.  Associations of IL6 polymorphisms with lung function decline and COPD 
Thorax  2009;64(8):698-704.
Background
Interleukin-6 (IL6) is a pleiotropic pro-inflammatory and immunomodulatory cytokine which likely plays an important role in the pathogenesis of COPD. There is a functional single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), −174G/C, in the promoter region of IL6. We hypothesized that IL6 SNPs influence susceptibility for impaired lung function and COPD in smokers.
Methods
Seven and 5 SNPs in IL6 were genotyped in two nested case-control samples derived from the Lung Health Study (LHS) based on phenotypes of rate of decline of forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) over 5 years and baseline FEV1 at the beginning of the LHS. Serum IL6 concentrations were measured for all subjects. A partially overlapping panel of 9 IL6 SNPs was genotyped in 389 COPD cases from the National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT) and 420 controls from the Normative Aging Study (NAS).
Results
In the LHS, three IL6 SNPs were associated with FEV1 decline (0.023 ≤ P ≤ 0.041 in additive models). Among them the IL6_−174C allele was associated with rapid decline of lung function. The association was more significant in a genotype-based analysis (P = 0.006). In the NETT-NAS study, IL6_−174G/C and four other IL6 SNPs, all of which are in linkage disequilibrium with IL6_−174G/C, were associated with susceptibility to COPD (0.01 ≤ P ≤ 0.04 in additive genetic models).
Conclusion
Our results suggest that the IL6_−174G/C SNP is associated with rapid decline of FEV1 and susceptibility to COPD in smokers.
doi:10.1136/thx.2008.111278
PMCID: PMC2859187  PMID: 19359268
genetic polymorphism; IL6; forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1); lung function; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
6.  Asthma and genes encoding components of the vitamin D pathway 
Respiratory Research  2009;10(1):98.
Background
Genetic variants at the vitamin D receptor (VDR) locus are associated with asthma and atopy. We hypothesized that polymorphisms in other genes of the vitamin D pathway are associated with asthma or atopy.
Methods
Eleven candidate genes were chosen for this study, five of which code for proteins in the vitamin D metabolism pathway (CYP27A1, CYP27B1, CYP2R1, CYP24A1, GC) and six that are known to be transcriptionally regulated by vitamin D (IL10, IL1RL1, CD28, CD86, IL8, SKIIP). For each gene, we selected a maximally informative set of common SNPs (tagSNPs) using the European-derived (CEU) HapMap dataset. A total of 87 SNPs were genotyped in a French-Canadian family sample ascertained through asthmatic probands (388 nuclear families, 1064 individuals) and evaluated using the Family Based Association Test (FBAT) program. We then sought to replicate the positive findings in four independent samples: two from Western Canada, one from Australia and one from the USA (CAMP).
Results
A number of SNPs in the IL10, CYP24A1, CYP2R1, IL1RL1 and CD86 genes were modestly associated with asthma and atopy (p < 0.05). Two-gene models testing for both main effects and the interaction were then performed using conditional logistic regression. Two-gene models implicating functional variants in the IL10 and VDR genes as well as in the IL10 and IL1RL1 genes were associated with asthma (p < 0.0002). In the replicate samples, SNPs in the IL10 and CYP24A1 genes were again modestly associated with asthma and atopy (p < 0.05). However, the SNPs or the orientation of the risk alleles were different between populations. A two-gene model involving IL10 and VDR was replicated in CAMP, but not in the other populations.
Conclusion
A number of genes involved in the vitamin D pathway demonstrate modest levels of association with asthma and atopy. Multilocus models testing genes in the same pathway are potentially more effective to evaluate the risk of asthma, but the effects are not uniform across populations.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-10-98
PMCID: PMC2779188  PMID: 19852851
7.  Contribution of alpha- and beta-defensins to lung function decline and infection in smokers: an association study 
Respiratory Research  2006;7(1):76.
Background
Alpha-defensins, which are major constituents of neutrophil azurophilic granules, and beta-defensins, which are expressed in airway epithelial cells, could contribute to the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease by amplifying cigarette smoke-induced and infection-induced inflammatory reactions leading to lung injury. In Japanese and Chinese populations, two different beta-defensin-1 polymorphisms have been associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease phenotypes. We conducted population-based association studies to test whether alpha-defensin and beta-defensin polymorphisms influenced smokers' susceptibility to lung function decline and susceptibility to lower respiratory infection in two groups of white participants in the Lung Health Study (275 = fast decline in lung function and 304 = no decline in lung function).
Methods
Subjects were genotyped for the alpha-defensin-1/alpha-defensin-3 copy number polymorphism and four beta-defensin-1 polymorphisms (G-20A, C-44G, G-52A and Val38Ile).
Results
There were no associations between individual polymorphisms or imputed haplotypes and rate of decline in lung function or susceptibility to infection.
Conclusion
These findings suggest that, in a white population, the defensin polymorphisms tested may not be of importance in determining who develops abnormally rapid lung function decline or is susceptible to developing lower respiratory infections.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-7-76
PMCID: PMC1523340  PMID: 16700921

Results 1-7 (7)