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.