Minal Caliskan, from University of Chicago, and colleagues genotyped the 17q21 locus. Associations between asthma and HRV and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) wheezing illness were assessed. Both unstimulated and HRV-stimulated peripheral-blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were also genotyped for expression of 17q21.
The researchers found that 17q21 variants were associated with early life HRV wheezing illnesses, but not with RSV wheezing illnesses. There was a significant interaction effect between 17q21 variants and HRV wheezing illnesses with respect to asthma risk. There was a significant increase in the expression of ORMDL3 and GSDMB in HRV-stimulated PBMCs versus unstimulated PBMCs. The expression of these genes was not genotype-specific.
"Variants at the 17q21 locus were associated with asthma in children who had HRV wheezing illnesses and with expression of two genes at this locus," the authors write.
Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.