Genetic risk factors
An international genome study identifies more than 100 genetic risk factors that explain why some people suffer from asthma, hay fever and eczema.
Dr. Manuel Ferreira from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, said, it is the first study to find genetic risk factors shared among allergic conditions. The three most common allergic conditions, such as Asthma, hay fever and eczema affect different parts of the body.
The three diseases shared many genetic risk factors. But, we didn’t know exactly where the genetic risk factors located.
This is an important study, because when genes not working properly cause allergic conditions. This knowledge helps us to understand why allergies develop in the first place, and gives us new clues on how they could prevent or treated.
Researchers analyzed the genomes of around 360,838 people and selected 136 separate positions in the genome that risk factors for developing these conditions.
136 Genetic risk factors
Dr. Ferreira said those 136 genetic risk factors influenced whether 132 nearby genes switched on or off. We think that these genes impact the risk of asthma, hay fever and eczema by affecting how the cells of the immune system work.
Importantly, we identified several drugs that could target at some of these genes to treat allergies. The first step would be to test those drugs in the laboratory. The study also examined if environmental factors might affect whether these genes switched on or off.
“We found that this could be happening for many of the genes we identified,” Dr. Ferreira said. For example, we found one gene PITPNM2 that is more likely to be switched off in people who smoke. If this gene switched off, then the risk of developing allergies increases.
Also, the countries Australia, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, UK and the US collaborators of this study.
More information: [Nature]