Asian sand dust (ASD) originates from the arid and semiarid areas of China, and epidemiologic studies have shown that ASD exposure is associated with various allergic and respiratory symptoms. However, few studies have been performed to assess the relationship between skin inflammation and ASD exposure.
Twelve-week-old NC/Nga mice were divided into 6 groups (n = 8 for each group): hydrophilic petrolatum only (control); hydrophilic petrolatum plus ASD (ASD); hydrophilic petrolatum and heat inactivated-ASD (H-ASD); Dermatophagoides farinae extract (Df); Df and ASD (Df + ASD), and; Df and H-ASD (Df + H-ASD). The NC/Nga mice in each group were subjected to treatment twice a week for 4 weeks. We evaluated skin lesions by symptoms, pathologic changes, and serum IgE levels.
ASD alone did not induce atopic dermatitis (AD)-like skin symptoms. However, Df alone, Df + H-ASD and Df + ASD all induced AD-like symptoms, and dermatitis scores in the group of Df + ASD group were significantly greater than that of the Df group (P = 0.0011 at day 21; and P = 0.017 at day 28). Mean serum IgE was markedly increased in the Df and Df + ASD groups, compared to the ASD and control groups (P < 0.0001), and serum IgE levels in the Df + ASD group were significantly higher compared to the Df group (P = 0.003).
ASD alone did not cause AD-like symptoms in NC/Nga mice. However, AD-like symptoms induced by Df, a major allergen, were enhanced by adding ASD. Although no epidemiological studies have been conducted for the association between ASD and symptoms of dermatitis, our data suggest that it is likely that ASD may contribute to the exacerbation of not only respiratory symptoms, but also skin diseases, in susceptible individuals.
Dermatitis; Atopic; Dermatophagoides farina; Mice
Controversy persists as to whether helminth infections cause or protect against asthma and atopy. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of helminth infection on asthma and atopy among Bangladeshi children. A total of 912 children aged 4.5 years (mean = 54.4, range = 53.5–60.8 months) participated in a cross-sectional study nested into a randomized controlled trial in Bangladesh. Ever-asthma, ever-wheezing and current wheezing were identified using the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood questionnaire. Current helminth infection was defined by the presence of helminth eggs in stools, measured by routine microscopic examination. Repeated Ascaris infection was defined by the presence of anti-Ascaris IgE ≥ 0.70 UA/ml in serum measured by the CAP-FEIA method. Atopy was defined by specific IgE to house dust mite (anti-DP IgE) ≥ 0.70 UA/ml measured by the CAP-FEIA method and/or positive skin prick test (≥ 5 mm). Anti-Ascaris IgE was significantly associated with ever asthma (odds ratio (OR) = 1.86, 95% CI: 1.14–3.04, highest vs. lowest quartile; P for trend 0.016). Anti-Ascaris IgE was also significantly associated with positive anti-DP IgE (OR = 9.89, 95% CI: 6.52–15.00, highest vs. lowest; P for trend < 0.001) and positive skin prick test (OR = 1.69, 95% CI: 1.01–2.81, highest vs. lowest, P for trend 0.076). These findings suggest that repeated Ascaris infection is a risk factor for asthma and atopy in rural Bangladeshi children. Further analysis is required to examine the mechanism of developing asthma and atopy in relation to helminth infection.
pediatric asthma; atopy; IgE; helminth infection; Bangladesh
Backgrounds. Outcome of childhood malignancy has been improved mostly due to the advances in diagnostic techniques and treatment strategies. While methotrexate (MTX) related polymorphisms have been under investigation in childhood malignancies, many controversial results have been offered. Objectives. To evaluate associations of polymorphisms related MTX metabolisms and clinical course in childhood lymphoid malignancies. Method. Eighty-two acute lymphoblastic leukemia and 21 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma children were enrolled in this study. Four single nucleotide polymorphisms in 2 genes (MTHFR (rs1801133/c.677C>T/p.Ala222Val and rs1801131/c.1298A>C/p.Glu429Ala) and SLCO1B1 (rs4149056/c.521T>C/p.V174A and rs11045879/c.1865+4846T>C)) were genotyped by Taqman PCR method or direct sequencing. Clinical courses were reviewed retrospectively. Results. No patient who had the AC/CC genotype of rs1801131 (MTHFR) had relapsed or died, in which distribution was statistically different among the AA genotype of rs1801131 (P = 0.004). Polymorphisms of SLCO1B1 (rs11045879 and rs4149056) were not correlated with MTX concentrations, adverse events, or disease outcome. Conclusions. Polymorphisms of MTHFR (rs1801131) could be the plausive candidate for prognostic predictor in childhood lymphoid malignancies.
Most of the previously reported loci for total immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels are related to Th2 cell-dependent pathways. We undertook a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify genetic loci responsible for IgE regulation. A total of 479,940 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were tested for association with total serum IgE levels in 1180 Japanese adults. Fine-mapping with SNP imputation demonstrated 6 candidate regions: the PYHIN1/IFI16, MHC classes I and II, LEMD2, GRAMD1B, and chr13∶60576338 regions. Replication of these candidate loci in each region was assessed in 2 independent Japanese cohorts (n = 1110 and 1364, respectively). SNP rs3130941 in the HLA-C region was consistently associated with total IgE levels in 3 independent populations, and the meta-analysis yielded genome-wide significance (P = 1.07×10−10). Using our GWAS results, we also assessed the reproducibility of previously reported gene associations with total IgE levels. Nine of 32 candidate genes identified by a literature search were associated with total IgE levels after correction for multiple testing. Our findings demonstrate that SNPs in the HLA-C region are strongly associated with total serum IgE levels in the Japanese population and that some of the previously reported genetic associations are replicated across ethnic groups.
Mast cells (MC) play an important role in allergic and non-allergic immune responses. Activation of human MC is modulated by several cell surface inhibitory receptors, including recently identified Allergin-1 expressed on both human and mouse MC. Although Allergin-1 suppresses IgE-mediated, mast cell–dependent anaphylaxis in mice, the expression profile and function of Allergin-1 on human primary MC remains undetermined. Here, we established a seven-color flow cytometry method for assessing expression and function of a very small number of human primary MC. We show that Allergin-1S1, a splicing isoform of Allergin-1, is predominantly expressed on human primary MC in both bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and nasal scratching specimens. Moreover, Allergin-1S1 inhibits IgE-mediated activation from human primary MC in BAL fluid. These results indicate that Allergin-1 on human primary MC exhibits similar characteristics as mouse Allergin-1 in the expression profile and function.
Seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR) to the Japanese cedar, Cryptomeria japonica (JC) pollen is an IgE-mediated type I allergy affecting nasal mucosa. However, the molecular events underlying its development remain unclear. We sought to identify SAR-associated altered gene expression in nasal epithelial cells during natural exposure to JC pollen. We recruited study participants in 2009 and 2010 and collected nasal epithelial cells between February and April, which is the period of natural pollen dispersion. Fifteen patients with SAR-JC and 13 control subjects were enrolled in 2009, and 17 SAR-JC patients, 13 sensitized asymptomatic subjects (Sensitized), and 15 control subjects were enrolled in 2010. Total RNA was extracted from nasal epithelial cells and 8 SAR-JC patients and 6 control subjects in 2009 were subjected to microarray analysis with the Illumina HumanRef-8 Expression BeadChip platform. Allergen-stimulated histamine release was examined in the peripheral blood basophils isolated from patients with SAR. We identified 32 genes with significantly altered expression during allergen exposure. One of these, CST1 encodes the cysteine protease inhibitor, cystatin SN. CST1 expression in nasal epithelial cells was significantly upregulated in both the 2009 and 2010 SAR-JC groups compared with the control groups. Immunohistochemical staining confirmed the increased expression of CST1 in the nasal epithelial cells of SAR patients. Addition of exogenous CST1 to basophils inhibited JC allergen-stimulated histamine release in vitro. We propose that CST1 may contribute to inactivation of protease allergens and help re-establish homeostasis of the nasal membranes.
The generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by introducing reprogramming factors into somatic cells is a promising method for stem cell therapy in regenerative medicine. Therefore, it is desirable to develop a minimally invasive simple method to create iPSCs. In this study, we generated human nasal epithelial cells (HNECs)-derived iPSCs by gene transduction with Sendai virus (SeV) vectors. HNECs can be obtained from subjects in a noninvasive manner, without anesthesia or biopsy. In addition, SeV carries no risk of altering the host genome, which provides an additional level of safety during generation of human iPSCs. The multiplicity of SeV infection ranged from 3 to 4, and the reprogramming efficiency of HNECs was 0.08–0.10%. iPSCs derived from HNECs had global gene expression profiles and epigenetic states consistent with those of human embryonic stem cells. The ease with which HNECs can be obtained, together with their robust reprogramming characteristics, will provide opportunities to investigate disease pathogenesis and molecular mechanisms in vitro, using cells with particular genotypes.
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) triggers dendritic cell–mediated T helper (Th) 2 inflammatory responses. A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs3806933, in the promoter region of the TSLP gene creates a binding site for the transcription factor activating protein (AP)–1. The variant enhances AP-1 binding to the regulatory element, and increases the promoter–reporter activity of TSLP in response to polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly[I:C]) stimulation in normal human bronchial epithelium (NHBE). We investigated whether polymorphisms including the SNP rs3806933 could affect the susceptibility to and clinical phenotypes of bronchial asthma. We selected three representative (i.e., Tag) SNPs and conducted association studies of the TSLP gene, using two independent populations (639 patients with childhood atopic asthma and 838 control subjects, and 641 patients with adult asthma and 376 control subjects, respectively). We further examined the effects of corticosteroids and a long-acting β2-agonist (salmeterol) on the expression levels of the TSLP gene in response to poly(I:C) in NHBE. We found that the promoter polymorphisms rs3806933 and rs2289276 were significantly associated with disease susceptibility in both childhood atopic and adult asthma. The functional SNP rs3806933 was associated with asthma (meta-analysis, P = 0.000056; odds ratio, 1.29; 95% confidence interval, 1.14–1.47). A genotype of rs2289278 was correlated with pulmonary function. Moreover, the induction of TSLP mRNA and protein expression induced by poly(I:C) in NHBE was synergistically impaired by a corticosteroid and salmeterol. TSLP variants are significantly associated with bronchial asthma and pulmonary function. Thus, TSLP may serve as a therapeutic target molecule for combination therapy.
asthma; TSLP; bronchial epithelial cells; combination therapy; genetic polymorphisms
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common inflammatory skin disease caused by multiple genetic and environmental factors. AD is characterized by the local infiltration of T helper type 2 (Th2) cells. Recent clinical studies have shown important roles of the Th2 chemokines, CCL22 and CCL17 in the pathogenesis of AD. To investigate whether polymorphisms of the CCL22 gene affect the susceptibility to AD, we conducted association studies and functional studies of the related variants. We first resequenced the CCL22 gene and found a total of 39 SNPs. We selected seven tag SNPs in the CCL22 gene, and conducted association studies using two independent Japanese populations (1st population, 916 cases and 1,032 controls; 2nd population 1,034 cases and 1,004 controls). After the association results were combined by inverse variance method, we observed a significant association at rs4359426 (meta-analysis, combined P = 9.6×10−6; OR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.65–0.85). Functional analysis revealed that the risk allele of rs4359426 contributed to higher expression levels of CCL22 mRNA. We further examined the allelic differences in the binding of nuclear proteins by electrophoretic mobility shift assay. The signal intensity of the DNA-protein complex derived from the G allele of rs223821, which was in absolute LD with rs4359426, was higher than that from the A allele. Although further functional analyses are needed, it is likely that related variants play a role in susceptibility to AD in a gain-of-function manner. Our findings provide a new insight into the etiology and pathogenesis of AD.
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.
An Nrf2-dependent response is a central protective mechanism against oxidative stress. We propose that particular genetic variants of the Nrf2 gene may be associated with a rapid forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) decline induced by cigarette smoking.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 915 Japanese from a general population. Values of annual decline in FEV1 were computed for each individual using a linear mixed-effect model. Multiple clinical characteristics were assessed to identify associations with annual FEV1 decline. Tag single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the Nrf2 gene (rs2001350, rs6726395, rs1962142, rs2364722) and one functional SNP (rs6721961) in the Nrf2 promoter region were genotyped to assess interactions between the Nrf2 polymorphisms and smoking status on annual FEV1 decline.
Annual FEV1 decline was associated with smoking behavior and inversely correlated with FEV1/FVC and FEV1 % predicted. The mean annual FEV1 declines in individuals with rs6726395 G/G, G/A, or A/A were 26.2, 22.3, and 20.8 mL/year, respectively, and differences in these means were statistically significant (pcorr = 0.016). We also found a significant interaction between rs6726395 genotype and smoking status on the FEV1 decline (p for interaction = 0.011). The haplotype rs2001350T/rs6726395A/rs1962142A/rs2364722A/rs6721961T was associated with lower annual decline in FEV1 (p = 0.004).
This study indicated that an Nrf2-dependent response to exogenous stimuli may affect annual FEV1 decline in the general population. It appears that the genetic influence of Nrf2 is modified by smoking status, suggesting the presence of a gene-environment interaction in accelerated decline in FEV1.
Background: Chromosome 22q11 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) increases the risk of development of schizophrenia more than 10 times compared with that of the general population, indicating that haploinsufficiency of a subset of the more than 20 genes contained in the 22q11DS region could increase the risk of schizophrenia. In the present study, we screened for genes located in the 22q11DS region that are expressed at lower levels in postmortem prefrontal cortex of patients with schizophrenia than in those of controls. Methods: Gene expression was screened by Illumina Human-6 Expression BeadChip arrays and confirmed by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assays and Western blot analysis. Results: Expression of GNB1L was lower in patients with schizophrenia than in control subjects in both Australian (10 schizophrenia cases and 10 controls) and Japanese (43 schizophrenia cases and 11 controls) brain samples. TBX1 could not be evaluated due to its low expression levels. Expression levels of the other genes were not significantly lower in patients with schizophrenia than in control subjects. Association analysis of tag single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the GNB1L gene region did not confirm excess homozygosity in 1918 Japanese schizophrenia cases and 1909 Japanese controls. Haloperidol treatment for 50 weeks increased Gnb1l gene expression in prefrontal cortex of mice. Conclusions: Taken together with the impaired prepulse inhibition observed in heterozygous Gnb1l knockout mice reported by the previous study, the present findings support assertions that GNB1L is one of the genes in the 22q11DS region responsible for increasing the risk of schizophrenia.
22q11DS; haloperidol; prefrontal cortex; postmortem brain
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
Ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC) is one of the enzymes involved in the urea cycle. OTC deficiency, which is caused by impaired synthesis of OTC in the liver, is the most common inherited disease of urea cycle disorders. In this paper, we describe the case of an OTC-deficient Japanese boy wherein an analysis based on high-density single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) revealed the absence of the entire OTC locus and nearby genes. We identified a deletion on Xp11.4; the size of the deletion fragment was approximately 1 Mb. The deleted region included genes encoding transmembrane 4 superfamily member 2 (TSPAN7), MID1 interacting protein 1 (MID1IP1) and part of the retinitis pigmentosa GTPase regulator (RPGR) in addition to OTC. The results of a high-density SNP assay and PCR confirmed that the mother of the patient was a carrier of the mutation. Previously, determination of breakpoints for large unknown deletions was timeconsuming and laborintensive. However, the use of the widely available DNA chip technology allows for rapid determination of deletion breakpoints; therefore, it will become a standard technique in study of patients with a large genomic deletion of contiguous genes for provision of comprehensive genetic counseling and initiation of clinical management.
OTC deficiency; high-density SNP assay; RPGR
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.
Congenital nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (NDI) is characterised by an inability to concentrate urine despite normal or elevated plasma levels of the antidiuretic hormone arginine vasopressin. We report a Japanese extended family with NDI caused by an 11.2-kb deletion that includes the entire AVPR2 locus and approximately half of the Rho GTPase-activating protein 4 (ARHGAP4) locus. ARHGAP4 belongs to the RhoGAP family, Rho GTPases are critical regulators of many cellular activities, such as motility and proliferation which enhances intrinsic GTPase activity.
ARHGAP4 is expressed at high levels in hematopoietic cells, and it has been reported that an NDI patient lacking AVPR2 and all of ARHGAP4 showed immunodeficiency characterised by a marked reduction in the number of circulating CD3+ cells and almost complete absence of CD8+ cells.
PCR and sequencing were performed to identify the deleted region in the Japanese NDI patients. Immunological profiles of the NDI patients were analysed by flow cytometry. We also investigated the gene expression profiles of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from NDI patients and healthy controls in microarray technique.
We evaluated subjects (one child and two adults) with 11.2-kb deletion that includes the entire AVPR2 locus and approximately half of the ARHGAP4. Hematologic tests showed a reduction of CD4+ cells in one adult patient, a reduction in CD8+ cells in the paediatric patient, and a slight reduction in the serum IgG levels in the adult patients, but none of them showed susceptibility to infection. Gene expression profiling of PBMC lacking ARHGAP4 revealed that expression of RhoGAP family genes was not influenced greatly by the lack of ARHGAP4.
These results suggest that loss of ARHGAP4 expression is not compensated for by other family members. ARHGAP4 may play some role in lymphocyte differentiation but partial loss of ARHGAP4 does not result in clinical immunodeficiency.
Atopic dermatitis develops as a result of complex interactions between several genetic and environmental factors. To date, 4 genome-wide linkage studies of atopic dermatitis have been performed in Caucasian populations, however, similar studies have not been done in Asian populations. The aim of this study was to identify chromosome regions linked to atopic dermatitis in a Japanese population.
We used a high-density, single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping assay, the Illumina BeadArray Linkage Mapping Panel (version 4) comprising 5,861 single nucleotide polymorphisms, to perform a genome-wide linkage analysis of 77 Japanese families with 111 affected sib-pairs with atopic dermatitis.
We found suggestive evidence for linkage with 15q21 (LOD = 2.01, NPL = 2.87, P = .0012) and weak linkage to 1q24 (LOD = 1.26, NPL = 2.44, P = .008).
We report the first genome-wide linkage study of atopic dermatitis in an Asian population, and novel loci on chromosomes 15q21 and 1q24 linked to atopic dermatitis. Identification of novel causative genes for atopic dermatitis will advance our understanding of the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis.