Science Daily reported that researchers from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute conducted an asthma GWAS in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Genetic Epidemiology Research in Adult Health and Aging (GERA) cohort using a total of 68,623 asthma cases and non-asthmatic controls. The study results revealed a novel potential mechanism for asthma susceptibility by the gene, IL1RL1. Investigators believe this could be associated with asthma susceptibility through introduction of a new binding site for micro RNA, a small non-coding RNA molecule, that regulates expression of this locus. Interestingly, the study replicated 16 unique associations with asthma predisposition in the non-Hispanic white populations, all of which were annotated to either HLA-DQA1—a major histocompatibility complex gene, IL18R1/IL1RL1. The study suggests that specific biological pathways may contribute to asthma predisposition within older adults of different ethnicities.
Ann Chen Wu, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Population Medicine