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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Public Health and Epidemiology - Respiratory Medicine

Gene-Gene and Gene-Environmental Interactions of Childhood Asthma: A Multifactor Dimension Reduction Approach
Published: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Author: Ming-Wei Su et al.

by Ming-Wei Su, Kuan-Yen Tung, Pi-Hui Liang, Ching-Hui Tsai, Nai-Wei Kuo, Yungling Leo Lee

Background

The importance of gene-gene and gene-environment interactions on asthma is well documented in literature, but a systematic analysis on the interaction between various genetic and environmental factors is still lacking.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We conducted a population-based, case-control study comprised of seventh-grade children from 14 Taiwanese communities. A total of 235 asthmatic cases and 1,310 non-asthmatic controls were selected for DNA collection and genotyping. We examined the gene-gene and gene-environment interactions between 17 single-nucleotide polymorphisms in antioxidative, inflammatory and obesity-related genes, and childhood asthma. Environmental exposures and disease status were obtained from parental questionnaires. The model-free and non-parametrical multifactor dimensionality reduction (MDR) method was used for the analysis. A three-way gene-gene interaction was elucidated between the gene coding glutathione S-transferase P (GSTP1), the gene coding interleukin-4 receptor alpha chain (IL4Ra) and the gene coding insulin induced gene 2 (INSIG2) on the risk of lifetime asthma. The testing-balanced accuracy on asthma was 57.83% with a cross-validation consistency of 10 out of 10. The interaction of preterm birth and indoor dampness had the highest training-balanced accuracy at 59.09%. Indoor dampness also interacted with many genes, including IL13, beta-2 adrenergic receptor (ADRB2), signal transducer and activator of transcription 6 (STAT6). We also used likelihood ratio tests for interaction and chi-square tests to validate our results and all tests showed statistical significance.

Conclusions/Significance

The results of this study suggest that GSTP1, INSIG2 and IL4Ra may influence the lifetime asthma susceptibility through gene-gene interactions in schoolchildren. Home dampness combined with each one of the genes STAT6, IL13 and ADRB2 could raise the asthma risk.

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