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Genetics of occupational asthma

Bernstein, David I

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: April 2011 - Volume 11 - Issue 2 - p 86–89
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e3283449fc9
Occupational disease: Edited by Susan M. Tarlo and Piero Maestrelli

Purpose of review To discuss gene association studies conducted in workers diagnosed with occupational asthma.

Recent findings Human leukocyte antigen studies conducted in European workers have defined major histocompatibility complex class II alleles and haplotypes associated with diisocyanate asthma. Recently, certain glutathione S-transferase genotypes (e.g. the GSTM1 null genotype) and N-acetyltransferase genotypes associated with slow acetylation phenotypes have been reported to be associated with diisocyanate asthma. Genotype combinations of IL-4 receptor-α and CD14 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were significantly associated with diisocyanate asthma, but only in workers exposed to hexamethylene diisocyanate. A recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) conducted in Korea identified several SNPs of the α-T-catenin gene that were significantly associated with diisocyanate asthma.

Summary Although candidate gene association studies have yet to identify reliable predictors of occupational asthma, future investigations including GWAS studies may identify high-risk genotypes allowing identification of workers at risk.

Division of Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Correspondence to David I. Bernstein, MD, Professor of Medicine and Environmental Health, Division of Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 231 Albert Sabin Way ML 563, Cincinnati, OH 45267, USA Tel: +1 513 558 3612; e-mail: bernstdd@ucmail.uc.edu

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