Study: Vehicle Emissions, Gene Variation and Childhood Asthma Risk

In a study published in the August 21st on-line edition of the journal Thorax, researchers drew upon data from the Children’s Health Study to compare associations between genetic variants and exposure to toxins among more than 3,000 study participants. The findings showed that children who carry variations in specific genes that metabolize vehicle emissions are more susceptible to developing asthma, particularly if they live near major roadways. Children with high levels of microsomal epoxide hydrolase (EPHX1) – an enzyme that metabolizes polyaromatic hydrocarbons in vehicle emissions – was associated with an increased risk for lifetime asthma. Children with high EPHX1 levels who also carried variations in GSTP1 genes were four times likely to have asthma. Among children who lived within 75 meters of a major road, those with high EPHX1 activity were three times more likely to have asthma than those with lower activity. These findings demonstrate the role of gene environment interaction in determining disease susceptibility. To view the abstract of this article visit //tinyurl.com/ywhn5x. To view a Science Daily article about this study visit //www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070820194635.htm.

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