Researchers have identified a gene that appears to influence susceptibility to Asthma, according to a report in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. The protein produced by the gene could serve as a target for new asthma drugs.
In a previous study, Dr. Emiko Noguchi, from the University of Tsukuba in Japan, and colleagues linked mapped areas on chromosome 5 in patients with allergic Asthma. Now, the researchers have gone a step further by identifying a gene in this region that influences asthma susceptibility.
Genetic screening in 155 families with asthma revealed six DNA changes that influenced the development of asthma. As it turns out, all of these mutations were in a gene for a protein called CYFIP2.
Further analysis suggested that CYFIP2 influences the risk of asthma by affecting the function of T cells, a group of cells that help the body defend against illness.
Still, additional research is needed to clarify exactly how changes in these cells might promote asthma, the authors note.
“Targeting CYFIP2 could be a novel strategy for treating…asthma,” Noguchi’s team concludes.
SOURCE: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, July 15, 2005.
Revision date: July 3, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.